Analysing Practical and Professional Texts: A Naturalistic Approach, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Analysing Practical and Professional Texts

A Naturalistic Approach, 1st Edition

By Rod Watson


152 pages

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Analysing Practical and Professional Texts focuses on texts as constituents of human usage, showing how written documents and other 'texts' are integral to social organization. It reveals social organization itself to be not only textually-mediated in nature, but also textually-constituted, showing how texts - professional, technical or otherwise - as well as various social-scientific methodologies employ the resources of ordinary language. Theoretically sophisticated and illustrated with empirical examples, this book will be of interest not only to those with interests in ethnomethodology and conversation analysis, but also to social scientists and anthropologists concerned with text analysis, textual sense and the 'linguistic turn' in the methods of their own disciplines.


'Rod Watson uses the tools of ethnomethodology and conversation analysis to show us aspects of texts, both the mundane texts of ordinary life and the sociological texts of authors like Erving Goffman, that we had not suspected were there. It’s a brilliant analysis of the language games and rhetorical tropes that suffuse sociology’s theoretical discourse. Anyone who wants to understand sociologists’ work will profit from Watson’s penetrating insights.' Howard S. Becker 'Rod Watson cogently and masterfully draws the reader in as a co-participant in his textural analysis. Of particular importance is his discussion of the value and power of the documentary method as an analytical tool. Watson meticulously builds his case throughout the volume, culminating in his incisive and insightful textual examination of the work of Erving Goffman.' Thomas S. Weinberg, Buffalo State College, USA 'Watson eschews generalization and instead examines the ''production work'' that constitutes a specific text and gives it meaning-in-use… Watson's book is a welcome addition to the still embryonic literature concerned with how texts actually work as social productions…' Contemporary Sociology

About the Author

Rod Watson is Research Associate at the Laboratoire d'Anthropologie Linguistique et Sociolinguistique at the Institut Marcel Mauss, Paris, France

About the Series

Directions in Ethnomethodology and Conversation Analysis

Directions in Ethnomethodology and Conversation Analysis

Ethnomethodology and Conversation Analysis are cognate approaches to the study of social action that together comprise a major perspective within the contemporary human sciences. Ethnomethodology focuses upon the production of situated and ordered social action of all kinds, whilst Conversation Analysis has a more specific focus on the production and organisation of talk-in-interaction. Of course, given that so much social action is conducted in and through talk, there are substantive as well theoretical continuities between the two approaches. Focusing on social activities as situated human productions, these approaches seek to analyse the intelligibility and accountability of social activities ‘from within’ those activities themselves, using methods that can be analysed and described. Such methods amount to aptitudes, skills, knowledge and competencies that members of society use, rely upon and take for granted in conducting their affairs across the whole range of social life.

As a result of the methodological rewards consequent upon their unique analytic approach and attention to the detailed orderliness of social life, Ethnomethodology and Conversation Analysis have ramified across a wide range of human science disciplines throughout the world, including anthropology, social psychology, linguistics, communication studies and social studies of science and technology.

This series is dedicated to publishing the latest work in these two fields, including research monographs, edited collections and theoretical treatises. As such, its volumes are essential reading for those concerned with the study of human conduct and aptitudes, the (re)production of social orderliness and the methods and aspirations of the social sciences.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Anthropology / General