Ethnomethodology - Wikipedia
sential difference in method, for example between interview research, the analysis of natural documents and the whole field of ethnographic approaches. . Reading a 30 year old newspaper article on the day it was published and today is not. we investigate ethnomethodology's relationship with technology innovation Similarly scholars turned to ethnography to further their understanding of .. At the same time there have been several articles published addressing awareness. Varieties of a third strategy, ethnography, including the ethnography of specific ( sub-) Therefore, I will, in this article, present a general discussion of the ways in Ethnomethodology's relationship with its "mother discipline".
The code regulates violence Anderson The code has causal force: The code affects everyone. Tim, McGee, and the others conform to the code of the street. Telling the code imposes order. Tim may be telling the code of the street, and what Tim says may be understood by referring to the code of the street, but Tim is also tell- ing the code to help himself.
He demands respect from McGee while disres- pecting McGee. Tim and McGee know the code of the street but improvise and play off that code.
Social codes exist, but how people deploy codes varies. The code of the street compels Tim to castigate McGee for violating that code by disrespecting him. At the same time, Tim is 4 telling the code of the street to McGee to change his conduct. Hence, the code is a rule and resource.
Accounts affect actions, and actions are accounted for. Empirically, this article describes how the code of the street operated during the s in Waukegan, Illinois, more than eight hundred miles away from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where Anderson made most of his initial observations. This is a procedural, rather than a conceptual, ethnography. Methodologically, by looking at how people invoked the code of the street as well as identifying the code of the street, this article promotes holistic research on codes of conduct as causes and as con- sequences.
In addition to analyzing the validity of accounts, we advocate analyzing the functions of accounts. In regard to validity, we conclude that some of what players said contradicted what they did in public.
In regard to the functions of accounts, we conclude that telling the code may be dysfunc- tional. Finally, conceptually, by combining accounts of accounts from ethnographers and ethnomethodologists, this work creates a new model of accounts see Figure 1. Therefore, social scien- tists should study both sides of the cycle. They should gather accounts from participants. They should also record when and how participants share their accounts. By examining the causal and consequential aspects of codes, researchers can re present agency and structure properly.
Rather than assume that how one group depicts another group is valid, we should always question why and how each group portrays the other group—and by exten- sion, themselves. Tales convey self-images as well as information. When black men do race or gender by telling the code of the street, by telling each other how streetwise men and women have to or ought to behave, they are not only giving an account; these men are also showing that they know how to behave.
Thus, telling the code of the street occurs at certain times in certain settings in front of certain audiences for certain reasons. Players exhibited as well as explained their conduct. Telling the code of the street is an indexical act. When that code is told e. The code of the street counsels black males to be wary of other peo- ple, regardless of their race or gender, especially in public places Feagin ; Gardner Subjectively, men who adopt the code become hyper- vigilant, but even paranoids have enemies.
Objectively, black men do face dangers exacerbated by their race and gender. As Blake and Darling summarized, inthe life expectancy of black males was seven years less than that of white males. Mortality rates for black males between the ages of fifteen and thirty were 3 times higher.
Ethnomethodological criticism of ethnography - Open Research Online
Black males accounted for approxi- mately 61 percent of robbery arrests and 55 percent of homicide arrests while representing only 11 percent of the general population. African American males had a ratio of 1: Two-thirds to three-fourths of those victims knew their killer as a family member, friend, or acquaintance. Black men were in danger. However, codes can also be self-fulfilling prophecies Merton The street-oriented stereotypes shared by black men in Waukegan are empower- ing and enfeebling.
Finally, codes can be misleading. They seldom spoke about peaceful, fatherly, or loving encounters. An ironic exclusion, many of these men brought their sons and daughters to the gym with them and introduced their wives and girlfriends with pride. Players behaved peacefully, fatherly, and husbandly, and yet these same men rarely discussed this loving masculinity.
Black men needed to know the code of the street, but they could have also talked about alternatives. Black men who engage in stereotyping when on common ground will have difficulty moving past those stereotypes to higher ground. Likewise, social scientists who are too accepting of what their partic- ipants say will re produce biased accounts.
Telling the code is one means of doing gender, race, and other identity work; codes are not reality. For detailed discussions of ethnography and ethnomethodology, see the Journal of Con- temporary Ethnography special issue on ethnography and discourse, edited by Spencer Garfinkel and Goffmanthe patron saints of ethnomethodology and ethnog- raphy, inspired early work on accounts Orbuch There, he quotes what his informants say about themselves, about each other, and to each other and describes his rela- tionships with them.
You gotta respect the call. And if you ask how many times do you see him, will answer that they see him three times a week. See him at his best, see him at his worst, see him when he gets angry. However, whites were more likely to speak about the respect blacks gained and status that whites put aside. White men often raved about getting to know black men in spite of their differences.
White men told their code to make sense of black men and when they told it to the first author, they made sense of black men to a black man.
Some white players at the YMCA told the first author and others that basketball aided racial understanding. There are blacks and whites play- ing together here. You have me, a trial attorney, an attorney in personal injury. You have another person who is a judge, a good judge who might be a state senator.
Then you have Finch who just got out of jail. Normally, in any other case, if I saw him at work, I would be on one side of the rail and he would be on the other. But now if I saw him in the courthouse, I could go up and talk to him, and we would have something to talk about.
They often reveled in losing their occupational esteem as lawyers and judges. They boasted about gaining respect for black players. They tried to get him to observe their truth by telling him their code.
Race, class, and change in an urban community. University of Chicago Press. The code of the streets. The Atlantic Monthly 5: Code of the street: The ideologically driven critique.
American Journal of Sociology Baxter, Vern, and A. Honor, status, and aggression in economic exchange. A door to teaching the middle ages. The History Teacher In Speak my name: Black masculinity and the American dream, edited by Don Belton, 1—5. The dilemmas of the African American male. Journal of Black Studies University of California Press.
Am I black enough for you? Brown, Stephanie, and Keith Clark. Melodramas of beset black manhood? Mediations on African-American masculinity as scholarly topics and social menace; An introduction. Fraternal bonding in the locker room: A profeminist analysis of talk about competition and women. Sociology of Sport Journal 8: Dellinger, Kirsten, and Christine L. Negotiating appearance rules in the workplace.
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Engendering the work of table servers.
Ethnomethodological criticism of ethnography
Gender and Society 7: Producing gender effects on involuntary mental hospitalization. The Symbolic, rational, and methodical use of norms in pickup basketball. Social Psychology Quarterly The fool as a social type. The culture of poverty. In On understanding poverty: Perspectives from the social sciences, edited by Daniel P.
The fraternal bond as a joking relationship: A case study of the role of sexist jokes in male group bonding. New directions in research on men and mas- culinity, edited by Michael S. Leveled aspirations in a low-income neighborhood. Bad news, good news: Conversational order in everyday talk and clinical settings. Five essays, old and new. Situated actions and vocabularies of motive. American Sociological Review 5: Conflict management, honor, and organizational change.
The American Journal of Sociology Exploring the architecture of everyday life. Exploring the architecture of everyday life readings. The theory of heroic defeats: A mixed motivation approach. The sociology of accounts. Annual Review of Sociology What ever happened to the white athlete? Sports Illus- trated 87 In search of black masculinities. Meanings and messages in American culture. Analyzing single episodes of interaction: An exercise in conversation analysis.
Mutual relevance of ethnography and discourse. Journal of Contem- porary Ethnography A theory of delin- quency. In Understanding everyday life: Towards a reconstruction of sociological knowledge, edited by J.
Poverty, morality, and the pitfalls of urban ethnog- raphy. West, Candace, and Don H. Documentary method of interpretation The documentary method is the method of understanding utilised by everyone engaged in trying to make sense of their social world—this includes the ethnomethodologist. Garfinkel recovered the concept from the work of Karl Mannheim  and repeatedly demonstrates the use of the method in the case studies appearing in his central text, Studies in Ethnomethodology.
Garfinkel states that the documentary method of interpretation consists of treating an actual appearance as the "document of", "as pointing to", as "standing on behalf of", a presupposed underlying pattern.
This seeming paradox is quite familiar to hermeneuticians who understand this phenomenon as a version of the hermeneutic circle. Methodologically, social order is made available for description in any specific social setting as an accounting of specific social orders: Social orders themselves are made available for both participants and researchers through phenomena of order: These appearances parts, adumbrates of social orders are embodied in specific accounts, and employed in a particular social setting by the members of the particular group of individuals party to that setting.
Specific social orders have the same formal properties as identified by A. Gurwitsch in his discussion of the constituent features of perceptual noema, and, by extension, the same relationships of meaning described in his account of Gestalt Contextures see Gurwitsch As such, it is little wonder that Garfinkel states: In essence the distinctive difference between sociological approaches and ethnomethodology is that the latter adopts a commonsense attitude towards knowledge.
For the ethnomethodologist, the methodic realisation of social scenes takes place within the actual setting under scrutiny, and is structured by the participants in that setting through the reflexive accounting of that setting's features.
The job of the Ethnomethodologist is to describe the methodic character of these activities, not account for them in a way that transcends that which is made available in and through the actual accounting practices of the individual's party to those settings. The differences can therefore be summed up as follows: While traditional sociology usually offers an analysis of society which takes the facticity factual character, objectivity of the social order for granted, ethnomethodology is concerned with the procedures practices, methods by which that social order is produced, and shared.
While traditional sociology usually provides descriptions of social settings which compete with the actual descriptions offered by the individuals who are party to those settings, ethnomethodology seeks to describe the procedures practices, methods these individuals use in their actual descriptions of those settings Links with phenomenology[ edit ] Main article: Phenomenology philosophy Even though ethnomethodology has been characterised as having a "phenomenological sensibility",  and reliable commentators have acknowledged that "there is a strong influence of phenomenology on ethnomethodology The confusion between the two disciplines stems, in part, from the practices of some ethnomethodologists including Garfinkelwho sift through phenomenological texts, recovering phenomenological concepts and findings relevant to their interests, and then transpose these concepts and findings to topics in the study of social order.
Such interpretive transpositions do not make the ethnomethodologist a phenomenologist, or ethnomethodology a form of phenomenology. To further muddy the waters, some phenomenological sociologists seize upon ethnomethodological findings as examples of applied phenomenology; this even when the results of these ethnomethodological investigations clearly do not make use of phenomenological methods, or formulate their findings in the language of phenomenology.
So called phenomenological analyses of social structures that do not have prima facie reference to any of the structures of intentional consciousness should raise questions as to the phenomenological status of such analyses.
Garfinkel speaks of phenomenological texts and findings as being "appropriated" and intentionally "misread" for the purposes of exploring topics in the study of social order. Even though ethnomethodology is not a form of phenomenology, the reading and understanding of phenomenological texts, and developing the capability of seeing phenomenologically is essential to the actual doing of ethnomethodological studies.
As Garfinkel states in regard to the work of the phenomenologist Aron Gurwitsch, especially his "Field of Consciousness" These may be characterised as: The organisation of practical actions and practical reasoning. Including the earliest studies, such as those in Garfinkel's seminal Studies in Ethnomethodology. More recently known as conversation analysisHarvey Sacks established this approach in collaboration with his colleagues Emanuel Schegloff and Gail Jefferson.
Talk-in-interaction within institutional or organisational settings. While early studies focused on talk abstracted from the context in which it was produced usually using tape recordings of telephone conversations this approach seeks to identify interactional structures that are specific to particular settings. The study of work. Those ordered properties are ongoing achievements of the concerted commonplace activities of investigators.
The demonstrable rationality of indexical expressions and indexical actions retains over the course of its managed production by members the character of ordinary, familiar, routinized practical circumstances.
But, at the same time, practical actors always are able to "get by" in one way or another. Or, to borrow from a notion that came to be used later in GARFINKEL's writings such asthe philosophical problem of the gulf between the abstract and general on the one hand and the concrete and situational on the other, can, for ethnomethodological purposes, be respecified as a problem that members of society solve as a matter of course in their everyday activities.
Not only is the underlying pattern derived from its individual documentary evidences, but the individual documentary evidences, in their turn, are interpreted on the basis of 'what is known' about the underlying pattern. Each is used to elaborate the other. The always awaiting task, the "contingent ongoing accomplishment of organized artful practices of everyday life", is to connect the two, by giving accounts, by adding "etc.
It is that condition that is responsible, so to speak, for the "incarnate reflexivity" discussed before. While some of his early writings could be read to suggest that ethnomethodology would be in the business of formulating general rules, statements, practices or procedures used in the constitution of local social orders, the later work stresses the idea that those practices etc.
The general idea is that conventional studies of various specialised "trades" miss the essential "what" of those trades in favour of traditional sociological features like "professionalization", "status considerations", "lines of communication", etc.
GARFINKEL has suggested that in order to be able to study the specifics—the "quiddity" or "just whatness"—that make up a particular trade, an investigator should develop a rather deep competence in that trade.
Ethnomethodological criticism of ethnography
Still later GARFINKEL dropped the term "quiddity" or "just whatness" in favour of "haecceity" or "just thisness", presumably in order to avoid suggestions of a stable "core" that would define a particular practice. As already stated, the mission of recent ethnomethodology has been formulated a one of "respecification" of the classic concepts of western science and philosophy, such as "order", "logic", "rationality", "action", etc.
In other words, the grand themes of our intellectual culture are taken up in a fresh way as embodied in local, situated and intelligible practices. This usage is a principled one. Ethnomethodology is not interested in "individuals" as such, but in the competences involved in being a bona-fide member of a collectivity.
That members can take such claims for granted I refer to by speaking of a person as a 'bona-fide' collectivity member. The terms 'collectivity' and 'collectivity member' are intended in strict accord with Talcott Parsons' usage in The Social System [ We do not use the term to refer to a person.
It refers instead to mastery of natural language, which we understand in the following way. We offer the observation that persons, because of the fact that they are heard to be speaking a natural language, somehow are heard to be engaged in the objective production and objective display of commonsense knowledge of everyday activities as observable and reportable phenomena. We ask what it is about natural language that permits speakers and auditors to hear, and in other ways to witness, the objective production and objective display of commonsense knowledge, and of practical circumstances, practical actions, and practical sociological reasoning as well.
What is it about natural language that makes these phenomena observable-reportable, that is account-able phenomena? For speakers and auditors the practices of natural language somehow exhibit these phenomena in the particulars of speaking and that these phenomena are exhibited is thereby itself made exhibitable in further description, remark, questions, and in other ways for the telling.
The interests of ethnomethodological research are directed to provide, through detailed analyses, that account-able phenomena are through and through practical accomplishments.
We shall speak of 'the work' of that accomplishment in order to gain the emphasis for it of an ongoing course of action. The work is done as assemblages of practices whereby speakers in the situated particulars of speech mean something different from what they can say in just so many words, that is, as 'glossing practices.
The problem, then, with which I deal in this paper is how ethnomethodological studies use and depend upon the active use of membership knowledge in order to study "membership" as a phenomenon.
Ethnomethodology and Common Sense Procedures Since ethnomethodology has an interest in the procedural study of common sense as it is used practically, it is faced with a peculiar methodological problem. This may be glossed as "the problem of the invisibility of common sense".
Members have a practical rather than a theoretical interest in their constitutive work. They take common sense and its constitutive practices for granted, unless some sorts of "trouble" make attention necessary. For ethnomethodology, common sense practices are the topic of study, but those practices are also, unavoidably, used as a resource for any study one may try to undertake c.
Without the use of common sense, its object of study would be simply unavailable, because it is constituted by the application of common sense methods, such as "the documentary method of interpretation" GARFINKEL a, pp.
So the problem for ethnomethodology is how common sense practices and common sense knowledge can lose their status as an unexamined "resource", in order to be a "topic" for analysis. Formulated in this way, it is a double-faced problem: This double-sided problem seems to be in principle unsolvable, one is bound to lose either the resource or the topic.
So what one has to do is to find practical solutions, which are unavoidably compromises.
I will presently suggest a typology of the solutions that have been tried in ethnomethodology so far. This strategy consists of the close study of sense-making activities in situations where they are especially prominent. In this researchers study their own sense-making work by putting themselves in some kind of extra-ordinary situation.
This may be a situation where routine sense-making procedures are bound to fail, or where one has to master a difficult and unknown task, or where one is instructed by a setting's members to see the world in a way that is natural for them but not for oneself.
It consists of closely observing situated activities in their natural settings and discussing them with the seasoned practitioners, in order to study the competences involved in the routine performance of these activities.
To further this close study, or to be able to study these activities after the fact, recording equipment may be used, but quite often researchers using this strategy rely on traditional note-taking in order to produce their data. These recordings are then transcribed in a way that limits the use of common sense procedures to hearing what is being said and noting how it has been said. The transcriptions are used to locate some "orderly products". It is the analyst's task, then, to formulate a "device" which may have been used to produce that "product" and phenomena like it c.
So a technical aspect of the fourth strategy is often adopted in the first three. WIEDER's study, here cited as exemplifying the second strategy can also be seen as an example of the third, as his analysis of his own learning of and being instructed in "seeing" the world of the half-way house in terms of "the code" is embedded in general ethnographic descriptions.
There is a major difference, however, between the first three strategies—ethnomethodological studies in the stricter sense—and the fourth—CA, at least in its "pure" form.
In the first set, specific circumstances are created or sought out, where sense-making activities are more prominent and consequently easier to be studied.
In this way ethnomethodology displays a strategic preference for the extra-ordinary 6. In contrast to this, pure CA tends to focus on the utterly mundane, the ordinary chit-chat of everyday life. While in ethnomethodology the "visibility problem" is—in part—solved by the creation or selection of "strange" environments, in CA this "estranging" task is performed by the recording machine and the transcription process.
In more recent years, however, CA-type of analyses are increasingly embedded in and inspired by more ethnographically informed understandings, especially in so-called "workplace studies" focussed on technologically complex environments 7. So ethnographers may be said to study their own field notes as an unexamined resource for their study of a community's life.
Or researchers using interviews study the responses they have recorded as an unexamined resource for their study of "underlying" opinions and unobserved activities. In both cases, the situated "production" of those materials is not given systematic attention in its own right.
The theoretical objects of such studies tends to be either individuals or collectivities.
Common Sense as Inevitable Resource The above critique concerning researchers' reliance on common sense, i. Although the "unthinking" use of such knowledge may be minimised, it cannot be eliminated completely, but this fact is not too often acknowledged.
I will now present three cases where ethnomethodological writers have discussed this problem quite frankly. Idealisations are selective, abstract and logically coherent constructions that are used to collect phenomena in terms of selected features judged to be relevant from a specific, for instance theoretical, point of view. Although he acknowledges the success of this procedure in the natural sciences, he sees certain drawbacks in its use in the social sciences: He specifically objects to the use of such idealisations that ignores the fact that idealisation is a feature of the social life studied itself.
For ethnomethodology then, 'idealization' of either scientific or common-sense form is a phenomenon for study, not a resource [ Though ethnomethodologists must themselves idealize their phenomena in some fashion when pursuing an analysis, their approach differs from current constructive theorizing in that their idealizations attempt to incorporate the view that, from the outset, societal members recognize and accomplish the orderly structures of their world [ The phenomena of interest, then, are what Schutz refers to as second-order phenomena, namely members' idealizations of their own and others' behavior [ For ethnomethodologists, idealizations or rational constructions of the social world must be recognized as also having the features of being 'done from within the world' and being 'part and parcel of that world', i.
The point is to recognise this and to take it into account in one's own idealising practices. How this is to be done is less clear, however. In a critique of "speech act theory" as proposed by J. The sociologist inevitably trades on his members' knowledge in recognizing the activities that participants to interaction are engaged in; for example, it is by virtue of my status as a competent member that I can recurrently locate in my transcripts instances of 'the same' activity.
This is not to claim that members are infallible or that there is perfect agreement in recognizing any and every instances; it is only to claim that no resolution of problematic cases can be effected by resorting to procedures that are supposedly uncontaminated by members' knowledge.
Arbitrary resolutions, made for the sake of easing the problems of 'coding', are of course no resolution at all for the present enterprise. The sociologist, having made his first-level decision on the basis of members' knowledge, must then pose as problematic how utterances come off as recognizable unit activities. This requires the sociologist to explicate the resources he shares with the participants in making sense of utterances in a stretch of talk.
At every step of the way, inevitably, the sociologist will continue to employ his socialized competence, while continuing to make explicit what these resources are and how he employs them. I see no alternative to these procedures, except to pay no explicit attention to one's socialized knowledge while continuing to use it as an indispensible aid.
In short, sociological discoveries are ineluctably discoveries from within the society. In the first the researcher uses his own membership knowledge to understand his materials, while in the second he analyses this understanding from a procedural perspective What TURNER does not mention, but what has become a standard in CA afterwards, is that the analyst can inspect subsequent utterances to see whether these display any specific understandings of previous utterances, either by other participants, or by the original speaker himself or herself cf.
But always the study of these materials can be seen as organised in these two phases of membership understanding and procedural analysis. In WIEDER's book on a half-way house, for instance, the first part is largely devoted to an ethnographic study of the setting from which the concept of a Convict Code emerges, while the second deals with the ways in which this Code is used as a daily interpretive and explanatory device. In fact, a major phenomenon in those hearings was the pervasiveness of "deconstruction" as a practical activity, as each party tried to undermine the accounts provided by the other.
Therefore, "deconstruction does not identify our own methodological agenda, but instead it is a perspicuous feature of the struggle we describe". In this effort we shall inevitably engage in constructive i.
Our methods are organized around, and take many of their initiatives from, the complexity and circumstances of the case at hand. And then they construct a contrast between this ordinary way of knowing with what are presented as ideals in conventional social science.
The presumption is that a community of readers will grasp enough of the details in question, with no need to justify such understanding on ultimate grounds, so that relevant maxims and precedents can be brought to bear on the case and extended to others like it. The failure of such a method to live up to the universal standards of procedure and proof associated with Euclidean geometry carries no necessary stigma.What is ethnography in sociology? by James Rhodes
Indeed, it can be argued that science and mathematics do not fully exemplify episteme, and that at the moment of their production all inquiries involve an effort to come to terms with relevant circumstances.
So, rather than claiming adherence to a set of formal principles, they, as ethnomethodologists, refer to their co-membership of a "community of readers" as a good enough basis for the intelligibility of their research materials as well as their own elaborations of those materials.