Orders of Ordinary Action: Respecifying Sociological Knowledge, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Orders of Ordinary Action

Respecifying Sociological Knowledge, 1st Edition

By Stephen Hester

Edited by David Francis


244 pages

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Presenting original research studies by leading scholars in the field, Orders of Ordinary Action considers how ethnomethodology provides for an 'alternate' sociology by respecifying sociological phenomena as locally accomplished members' activities. Following an introduction by the editors and a seminal statement of ethnomethodology's analytic stance by its founder, Harold Garfinkel, the book then comprises two parts. The first introduces studies of practical action and organization, whilst the second provides studies of practical reasoning and situated logic in various settings. By organizing the book in this way, the collection demonstrates the relevance of ethnomethodological investigations to established topics and issues and indicates the contribution that ethnomethodology can make to the understanding of human action in any and all social contexts. Both individually and collectively, these contributions illustrate how taking an ethnomethodological approach opens up for investigation phenomena that are taken for granted in conventional sociological theorizing.


'This book answers the question: what have ethnomethodology's researchers been up to lately? A variety of studies including observations and explorations by leaders in the field - Garfinkel, Sharrock, Button, Lynch, Livingston and Liberman - and rising younger ones, yield impressive new insights into ordinary actions ranging from studies of surgical operations, mammography, and copy machine servicing to reasoning in the natural sciences, medical case conferences and the use of bibliographies. Throughout is a consistent focus on practical actions and practical reasoning in the respecification of ordinary social phenomena, proving that ethnomethodology is alive and well.' George Psathas, Boston University, USA

About the Author/Editor

Dr Stephen Hester is Professor of Sociology at the University of Wales - Bangor, UK. Dr David Francis is senior lecturer in the Department of Sociology at Manchester Metropolitan University, UK.

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
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Sociology / General