This book sketches the history, and outlines the character, of ethnomethodology, a distinctive approach to the study of the social world that emerged in U.S. sociology in the 1950s and 1960s.It examines one of its main sources, the phenomenology of Alfred Schutz, and its similarities to and differences from the work of Goffman. In addition, there is an assessment of its relationship to sociology and other disciplines, and its central principles are interrogated in detail. Attention is also given to its influence on social research methodology.
In two parts, the book examines, first, the attempts of three thinkers of the first half of the twentieth century to reconcile, in different socio-cultural contexts, the legacy of idealist philosophy with the claims of empirical social science, and, secondly, the trajectory of Bourdieu’s career in France from philosophy student to sociological researcher to political activist. It traces a progression from thought to action, but an emphasis on action informed by thought. It poses the question whether Bourdieu’s attempted integration of intellectualism and empiricism correlated with his particular socio-historical situation or whether it offers a global paradigm for advancing inter-cultural understanding. The book is of interest in confronting the question whether socio-political organization is best understood by social scientists or by participants in society, by experts or by the populace. It will stimulate general consideration of the relevance of a sociological perspective in everyday life and how much that perspective should be dependent on inherited concepts. Part I analyses the work of Alfred Schutz, Aron Gurwitsch and Maurice Merleau-Ponty, and Part II that of Pierre Bourdieu. The book is methodologically meticulous in situating these works socio-historically. It provides an introduction to some ideas in social philosophy and shows how these ideas became instrumental in generating a theory of practice. The book is aimed at post-graduate students and staff in all disciplines in the Humanities, and Human and Social sciences, but, more generally, it should interest all academics concerned about the contemporary social function of intellectuals.
between the subject and its sense of reality of the world
it inhabits in the context of the theory of consciousness and existential
phenomenology. I am speciﬁcally interested here in the role the discussion
of hallucination plays in the development and direction of such theory
as represented by Sartre’s early work on the imagination, especially his
The Psychology of Imagination (published in 1940) and Merleau-Ponty’s
response to that in his Phenomenology of Perception (published in 1945).
I shall look speciﬁcally at how their accounts of hallucination – which I
and validity of specialist knowledge,
scientific reason, monopolized by a minority ‘liberal elite’, in comparison with
the everyday experiences and opinions of the majority of citizens. On the
international stage, it relates to the authority of universalist conceptions of
human rights and of structures of governance in comparison with societal
practices in culturally different contexts. Phenomenology emerged in the specific intellectual, socio-political and cultural conditions of Austria and Germany
between 1900 and 1940. This book suggests that the transfer of
Human agents and social structures
power. Thus, to take a recent example, Kirchberg suggests that ‘the “subjectivity” of existentialism, phenomenology and symbolic interactionism
neglects undeniable forces like political power structures’ (Kirchberg, 2007:
118; but on this see Dennis and Martin, 2005: 192–194, or Denzin, 1992:
56–63). So it is to the so-called ‘microsociologies’ that we now turn.
‘Micro’ sociological perspectives
It is worth pausing to consider three distinctively sociological approaches
which have – unjustiﬁably, in our view – been
Schutz wrote the only book he published in his lifetime, translated as The
Phenomenology of the Social World, in Vienna, around the time when Schlick, Carnap,
and others were developing and publishing their ideas. Schutz did not belong to
what we now refer to as the Vienna Circle, but he did participate in two other
intellectual circles in that city: that around the economist Ludwig von Mises, and
also the Geist Kreis, a seminar on science and philosophy founded by Friedrich
von Hayek.5 Moreover, Schutz’s close friend Felix Kaufmann was a participant not
We argue that the structure-and-agency debate cannot reach a conclusion because it is based upon a tendentious interpretation of the history
and problematic of sociological theories. In particular, the assumption that
prior theories can be simply and crudely divided between either agency or
structure is false. In particular, contemporary arguments distort the characteristics of the relevant theories associated with ‘agency’ – such as methodological individualism, interactionism and phenomenologies – as well as
crucial arguments in Marx, Durkheim and Parsons
In recent years there has been a significant growth in interest of the so-called “law in context” extending legal studies beyond black letter law. This book looks at the relationship between written law and legal practice. It examines how law is applied in reality and more precisely how law is perceived by the general public in contrast to the legal profession. The authors look at a number of themes that are central to examining ways in which myths about law are formed, and how there is inevitably a constitutive power aspect to this myth making. At the same time they explore to what extent law itself creates and sustains myths. This line of enquiry is taken from a wide range of viewpoints and thus offers a unique approach to the question of relationship between theory and practice. The book critically assesses the public’s level of legal, psychological and social awareness in relation to their knowledge of law and deviant behaviour. This line of enquiry is taken from a wide range of viewpoints and thus offers a unique approach to the question of relationship between theory and practice. The book covers both empirical studies and theoretical engagements in the area of legal understanding and this affords a very comprehensive coverage of the area, and addressing issues of gender and class, as well as considering psychological material. It brings together a range of academics and practitioners and asks questions and address contemporary issues relating to the relationship between law and popular beliefs.
Heidegger. At Davos, Gurwitsch also heard Piaget and met Nikolai Hartmann
and Lucien Lévy-Bruhl.
In a curriculum vitae which he supplied to Schutz in 1948 with a view to
gaining employment in the New School for Social Research in New York,
Gurwitsch recalled that he passed his doctoral examination at Göttingen, where
he had been supervised by Moritz Geiger, with a thesis on philosophy which
‘concerned relations between phenomenology and Gestalt theory’ (Grathoff,
ed., 1989, 104–5). He added that he had also been examined in mathematics
and physics. According to Grathoff
of insanity, in metaphorical terms, have come from both sides.7
In this chapter I want to assess these various proposals about the status of
ethnomethodology in relation to sociology, and to social science more generally.
I will begin by briefly examining Garfinkel’s early career and what indications this
might carry for that relationship. Then, given the influence of phenomenology
on Garfinkel, I will examine its relationship with the natural and social sciences
to see whether this can provide some illumination. I will then outline the ways
in which Garfinkel