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By David Francis

This ebook deals a brand new and rigorous method of observational sociology that's grounded in ethnomethodology and dialog analysis.

Throughout the authors motivate the reader to discover the social international in the beginning hand, starting with the speedy kin context after which relocating out into the general public realm and organizational lifestyles. Examples of observational research are given near to subject components corresponding to kinfolk existence, schooling, medication, crime and deviance, and the reader is proven tips to behavior their very own inquiries, utilizing tools and fabrics which are without problems and commonly to be had.

Drawing on either unique fabric and released reviews, Francis and Hester exhibit how observational sociology could be performed with an realization to aspect in general missed by way of extra conventional ethonographic techniques.

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Extra resources for An Invitation to Ethnomethodology: Language, Society and Interaction

Sample text

This originated in the work of Sacks (1967; 1972; 1974; 1992a) and has been defined (Hester and Eglin, 1997: 3) as follows: The focus of MCA (Membership Categorisation Analysis) is on the use of membership categories, membership categorisation devices and category predicates by members, conceptualised as lay and professional social analysts, in accomplishing (the sociology of) ‘naturally occurring ordinary activities’. MCA directs attention to the locally used, invoked and organised ‘presumed common-sense knowledge of social structures’ which members are oriented to in the conduct of their everyday affairs, including professional sociological inquiry itself.

As we have emphasized, persons fit their actions to the immediate circumstances that they find themselves in. Therefore, the analytic task is not to describe what persons might take account of in general or in the abstract, but rather what they are orienting to specifically and how they use their knowledge of the situation to produce courses of action that fit the particular features of that situation. For example, the meaning of a particular word or expression is understood in relation to the specific occasion of its use – meaning is ‘indexical’ in Garfinkel’s words.

By ‘natural’ here we mean ‘in terms of our common sense’ as it pertains to everyday life. The hearing of mother and child as going together as a pair is, one might say, our first and unthinking hearing, a presumption on our part that unless otherwise indicated they are indeed related as a pair. Sacks speaks of membership categories ‘going together’ and by this he was referring to the organization of our common-sense knowledge. Membership categories that refer to types of person are, or at least can be, according to Sacks, organized into collections of categories.

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