In this concise introduction Alain Coulon demystifies the important qualitative research tradition of ethnomethodology. In terms accessible to students, he explains its history, its features and the major criticisms levelled at it. Both theoretical notions and main methodological practices are covered and examples of key ethnomethodological work are provided.

History of the Ethnomethodological Movement

Ethnomethodology begins with the work of the sociologist Garfinkel. Born in 1917, he started university studies at Harvard in 1946, under the direction of Parsons. At the same time, he studied phenomenology, reading Husserl, Aron Gurwitsch, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, and Schütz.

1949: Interracial Crimes and the Definition of the Situation

Garfinkel published his first article, concerning inter- and intraracial ...

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