This book is a concise intellectual biography of Harold Garfinkel, a key figure in 20th-century social science. Garfinkel is practically synonymous with ethnomethodology, an approach that since the 1960s has led to major analytic and methodological developments in sociology and other disciplines. This introduction to Garfinkel explores how he developed ethnomethodology under the influence of Talcott Parsons and Alfred Schutz, situates it within sociology generally, and demonstrates its important influence on recent developments in the discipline, particularly the sociology of science and technology, gender studies, organization studies, and the computer sciences. The book will be of wide interest in the social sciences and a useful supplement to courses on intellectual history and methodology.
"In this book Dirk vom Lehn provides a well-judged introduction to ethnomethodology (EM) and a fitting tribute to its late, great, progenitor Harold Garfinkel."— Sue White, University of Birmingham, UK, Qualitative Research
"This is an extremely lucid and likeable book, which I found a pleasure to read: vom Lehn’s writing style is light and he brings a sense of fun to engaging with conceptual work… Its popularity with students will make it popular with course directors, who can be assured that students receive a thorough introductory grounding in the material that will also lead them into the ‘essential’ texts."— Andrew P. Carlin, St Columb’s College, Symbolic Interaction
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.