Ethnomethodological Analysis


In 1967, Harold Garfinkel published Studies in Ethnomethodology, a collection of essays that investigated how social order happened to be locally produced and practically relevant, as a mundanely available and reflexively accountable phenomenon. How has ethnomethodology (EM)—as an empirical approach different from psychological, economic, or other forms of social theorizing—developed since the publication of Garfinkel’s seminal collection of studies? This entry answers the raised question in three steps. First, it presents the empirical outlook, basic assumptions, and key principles of ethnomethodological inquiry. Second, it charts three major strands of ethnomethodological analysis (EA): conceptual analysis, conversation analysis, and practical analysis (i.e., “studies of work”). Third, the entry discusses open arguments in the vein of and between these three contrasting strands of EA. The entry concludes by advocating the current interest of cross-disciplinary critique in EM, if not beyond its remit. Cross-disciplinary critique in EM invites its practitioners to make explicit the contingent framing of their empirical foci. As a reflexive endeavor, it opens up topical issues in the social sciences, humanities, as well as science and technology studies for empirical and conceptual reappraisal.

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