Respecifying Lab Ethnography delivers the first ethnomethodological study of current experimental physics in action, describing the disciplinary orientation of lab work and exploring the discipline in its social order, formal stringency and skilful performance - in situ and in vivo. Drawing upon extensive participant observation, this book articulates and draws upon two major strands of ethnomethodological inquiry: reflexive ethnography and video analysis. In bringing together these two approaches, which have hitherto existed in parallel, Respecifying Lab Ethnography introduces a practice-based video analysis. In doing so, the book recasts conventional distinctions to shed fresh light on methodological issues surrounding the descriptive investigation of social practices more broadly. An engaged and innovative study of the encountered worksite, this book will appeal not only to sociologists with interests in ethnomethodology and the sociology of work, but also to scholars of science and technology studies and those working in the fields of ethnography and social science methodology.
Philippe Sormani is Postdoctoral Assistant in the Department of Science and Technology Studies at the University of Vienna, Austria.
'As this book on the scanning tunneling microscopy of complex superconducting compounds evidences, laboratory science, as it is increasingly instrumentalized and mathematized with its stringently self-policing protocols, leaves the radical concealment of its method open for urgent and painstakingly ethnomethodological inquiry. I am happy to report that this book has lived up to its tall task.’ DuÅ¡an I. Bjeli, University of Southern Maine, USA ’For decades, sociologists and anthropologists of science have talked and debated about how to investigate scientific practice. In Respecifying Lab Ethnography, Philippe Sormani delivers the goods. His description of his own efforts to master the techniques of experimental physics breaks new ground in two ways. First, it reveals an unprecedented level of detail on the material practice of doing cutting-edge science and, second, it presents deep insight into the practice of ethnography.’ Michael E. Lynch, Cornell University, USA '[This study] succeeds in explicating the actual in-vivo practices of scientific practice and discovery. It provides a corrective perspective to the analogising and ironicising accounts of STS. It illustrates the limits of previous ethnomethodological studies it acknowledges it is itself built on. Its challenge to the central role of respecification in analysis is cogent, and it usefully draws our attention to unique adequacy as a requirement for ethnomethodological video analysis. This is a book which will provide healthy debate for many.' BSA Network Magazine