5 Ethnomethodology - Contemporary Sociological Theory...

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Contemporary Sociological Theory Ethnomethodology What is Ethnomethodology? Ethnomethodology is the study of the methods or practices that people use to accomplish their everyday lives. The founder of this sociological approach, Harold Garfinkel(1917-) , was particularly interested in how social actors provide accounts of situations. Ethnomethodologists are not so much concerned with the actual content of these accounts, but rather with the practice of accounting as a topic of analysis. For example, an ethnomethodologist might study how a telephone conversation is shaped by the actions of a caller and the responses of a receiver rather than by the subject matter of the conversation. Early ethnomethodological research included breaching experiments, which required subjects to deliberately disrupt the typical procedures of everyday actions (e.g., addressing family members in a formal manner). Today, ethnomethodologists focus their studies on social interactions in two broad areas: conversation analysis and institutional settings. Conversation Analysis The goal of conversation analysis is to study the ways in which conversations are organized. The unit of analysis of this method is the relationship among utterances, not the relationship between speakers and hearers. Conversation analysts have researched a variety of different types of speech, including telephone conversations, laughter, applause, booing, and even nonverbal communication. The openings of telephone conversations have been analyzed to discover the sequences social actors use to identify and recognize each other without the benefit of visual
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This note was uploaded on 05/20/2010 for the course SOCIOLOGY Contempora taught by Professor N/a during the Spring '10 term at Open Uni..

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5 Ethnomethodology - Contemporary Sociological Theory...

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