[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Re: [xmca] Ethnomethodology

Hi Martin, yes, and I think it is important to note that FA gives EM its fields of studies, because for each FA body of literature one can find or establish an equivalent in EM. I also think it is important to point out that you can go from the work of social practices, which is the issue for EM to the structures that are the results of FA research, but you cannot get from the results of FA studies to the work specified in EM. This is the asymmetry that Garfinkel talks about.

Cheers, Michael

On 10-Mar-09, at 11:30 AM, Martin Packer wrote:


I agree with you completely that the "What more?" is crucial - crucial to EM, and crucial to understand about EM. Here's what I have written in a work
in progress; let me know if you feel I've got it wrong:

Garfinkel distinguishes ethnomethodology from “the worldwide social science movement” with its “ubiquitous commitments to the policies and methods of formal analysis and general representational theorizing” (Garfinkel, 1996, p. 5). Demographics, definition of variables, quantification, statistical analysis, causal explanation and so on are “available to all administered
societies, contemporary and historical” (p. ). Without disputing the
achievements of “formal analysis” (FA), ethnomethodology “asks ‘What More?’” What more does this formal analysis depend on (p. 6)? Garfinkel’s answer is
that ‘what more?’ “has centrally (and perhaps entirely) to do with
procedures” (p. 6). Procedures in the sense not of processes, but of work, of labor: procedures such as playing piano, typing thoughtfully, getting a high score in a video game: “procedural means labor of a certain incarnate
methodological sort” (p. 10).  Ethnomethodology is about “coming upon” a
phenomenon in and through the work of producing it; it is a matter of
describing how people produce and display, how they demonstrate, local
phenomena of order – “the unremarkable embodiedly ordered details of their
ordinary lives together” (p. 11), the “commonplace, local, endogenous
haecceities of daily life” (p. 7) – where haecceities means “thisness.”

Garfinkel has no place for the techniques of formal analysis because it aims
to reconstruct a hidden order that precedes or underlies society, in the
form of causal mechanisms or rational functions. It assumes that order can be discovered only by adopting a transcendental perspective and using the techniques of objectifying, statistical analysis. Garfinkel insists instead that an order is visible in the mundane details of everyday interaction, if
only we will look.


On 3/10/09 12:41 PM, "Wolff-Michael Roth" <mroth@uvic.ca> wrote:

Hi all,
EM is not for the faint-hearted and easily misunderstood by the
newcomer. In the 1996 paper below, Garfinkel discusses the question
"What more?" there is to social research and presents the ways in
which EM is radical, alternate, incommensurable etc. with other
research. I have had debates with colleagues, who, in my view,
radically MISunderstood the paper, because Garfinkel does not mean
more of the same, like this and that qualitative method. For
interested people, I have an editorial that is also available on my
website in which I use data from a qualitative research project to
show the FA results and what EM would look for, that is, I show how
the EM what more differs from ALL other approaches to doing social

Roth, W.-M. (2009). Specifying the ethnomethodological “what more?”
Cultural Studies of Science Education, 4(1), 1–12.


On 10-Mar-09, at 10:19 AM, Martin Packer wrote:


When you say coding in CA, are you refering to the identification of an
utterance as, for example, the first part of a two-part pair? I don't
this as coding, but rather as a step in an ongoing articulation of the
organization of the conversation, in which component parts will be
identified in sequential and material context, always subject to
revision as
more of the conversation is considered. I think of coding, as for
in grounded theory, as a practice of abstraction and generalization
in which
the codes replace the original data with abstract categories which
are then
compared to produce more abstract features and kinds. In this kind of
approach the researcher writes notes or memos not about the data but
the categories. The data becomes merely an 'illustration' of the
and the end result is a 'theory' that takes the form of stated
among categories. The data, in all its richness and complexity, is
left far
behind. CA is a very different approach.

Thanks for pointing to the Livingston book. I too find
Program very useful, both the book and the 1996 article with the same
Anne Rawls (she is the daughter of John Rawls) is writing some very
interesting pieces of EM, linking it to a fresh interpretation of
sociological project and his objections to Kant. Some references:

Garfinkel, H. (1996). Ethnomethodology's program. Social Psychology
Quarterly, 59(1), 5-21.
Rawls, A. W. (1996). Durkheim's epistemology: The neglected argument.
American Journal of Sociology, 102(2), 430-482.
Rawls, A. W. (1998). Durkheim's challenge to philosophy: Human reason
explained as a product of enacted social practice. The American
Journal of
Sociology, 104(3), 887-901.
Rawls, A. W. (2006). Respecifying the study of social order: Garfinkel's
transition from theoretical conceptualization to practices in detail.
In H.
Garfinkel & A. W. Rawls (Eds.), Seeing sociologically: The routine
of social action (pp. 1-98): Paradigm Publishers.


On 3/8/09 8:29 PM, "Ed Wall" <ewall@umich.edu> wrote:


        There is a somewhat hard to find book by Eric Livingston:
Making Sense Of Ethnomethodology you might want to add to your reading list (if you already haven't) and for my purposes, teaching a class or
so in Education, pieces of Ethnomethodology's Program (by Garfinkel
and edited by Rawls) has been useful. As far as coding goes, if one
does Conversational Analysis, then there is some 'coding.'

Ed Wall

On Mar 8, 2009, at 8:01 PM, Martin Packer wrote:


Coding does indeed not enable one to grasp the complexity of events.
ignores or denies, importantly, the intrinsic plurality or ambiguity
events/actions, and their reciprocal relations with context. Both of
are characteristics which all of us use and exploit as interactional
resources in everyday life. Once an act has been coded a specific
interpretation of it has been fixed, and it has been artificially
from its sequential and material context.

These are reasons why I have always been more drawn to
That's the topic of the class I'm teaching tomorrow (in Spanish,
heaven help
me - and them!) and so I've been refreshing my knowledge. I stumbled
onto my
copy of Roy Turner's collection, titled simply "Ethnomethodology,"
by Penguin in 1974, which I brought with me from the UK to the US
eons ago
and now has travelled with me to Colombia. If that doesn't show
for EM I don't know what does! And I've been reading old and new
work by
John Heritage, some of which deals with "epistemic landscapes" in a
way that
very successfully, I think, puts information at the center, as you
put it.

But ethnomethodology isn't based on empathy. It does assume that
there is at
least some degree of communality between the methods used by the
and those used by the participants to organize their everyday
activity, but
these methods are assumed to be procedural, practical, and not
subjective or
emotional. And the principal source of evidence for a reading of an
interaction in ethnomethodology is the way an action displays the
understanding of those events it responds to. So what you would like
to say
about (a), (b), and (c) would be constrained and informed by what the
students say in response to (a), (b), and (c). It works very well,
without a
single code being imposed.

Okay, okay, I'll go do my reading. Between you and Andy I never have
a spare


On 3/8/09 6:35 PM, "David Kellogg" <vaughndogblack@yahoo.com> wrote:


I'm afraid I'm not going to defend fuzzy thinking. Not because I
don't agree
with it, but because I'm not very good at it. My fuzziness tends to
be of the
nonvolitional sort.

As I said, it's an aspect of Jay's work (and also Vygotsky's) I
haven't really
assimilated very well. For many years I've been trying to ENTIRELY
the "present-practice-produce" paradigm of lessons here in Korea
along the
lines of his graphico-semiotic functions "getting attention--
information--checking integration".

It's a VERY powerful way of looking at lessons: it explains why
teachers NEVER begin with a blank slate, it puts information at the
centre of
the exchange where it really belongs, and it provides a model of
that is miles from testing practices: integrating old and new, me
and you, be
and do.

But I find it pretty hard to code stuff! Take this, for example,
yesterday's introductory class:

b) "I'm Mr. K."
c) "And you?"

Now, I'd like to say that a) is "getting attention", b) is "giving
information" and c) is some kind of "checking integration". I'd
like to go
further, and say that greetings and DOWN intonation are generally
a), indicative/declaratives with horizontal or UP-DOWN intonation
generally b) and teacher questions often often UP intoned and c).

But the data won't code with any reliability Worse, I find there is
a) in b)
("I'm") and b) in a) ("Hi" gives information about how the speaker
the relationship), and c) in eveything (even the grammar).
Everything is

How nice it would be to shrug my shoulders like Hegel and say "So
much the
worse for the facts!" I would like to believe, as Benjamin says,
that "insight
into the relationship between essences is the prerogative of the
and these relationships remain unaltered even if they do not take
on the
purest form in the world of fact." But I don't.

This is  think one of Mariane Hedegaard's GREAT strengths (shown in
analysis of the Jens data but even more strongly at the end in her
of, and even her refusal to analyze, the Halime data) is her emic
ethnomethodological) attitude towards what the subjects say. I
don't think
this is sentimentally motivated. I think it's a serious attempt
"not to laugh,
nor to cry, but to understand".

So she has to recognize that to an outsider (Jens, Halime) a
dominant culture
really DOES look pretty monological and monolithic, and in fact it
is, at
least in terms of its exclusiveness and inaccessibility. Given that
it is
categorical exclusiveness and inaccessibility that is the source of
apparent monolithicity, I think the idea that the categorial
thinking of the
oppressed and that of the oppressor have the same ontological basis
is simply

Roy follows up his quotation of Benjamin with a long reference to
Malcolm X's
well known speech about "the house negro" and the "field negro",
misquoted by Al Qaida's Al Zawahiri with respect to Barack Obama.
argument, which I'm not sure I buy, is that BOTH are powerless, but
the field
negro is still strong, and part of that strength is a clear,
distinction between master and slave.

But I am interfering with your time, Martin. Read Hedegaard--it's a

David Kellogg
Seoul National University of Education

--- On Sun, 3/8/09, Martin Packer <packer@duq.edu> wrote:

From: Martin Packer <packer@duq.edu>
Subject: Re: [xmca] Hedegaard article
To: "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity" <xmca@weber.ucsd.edu>
Date: Sunday, March 8, 2009, 3:00 PM

I don't know, David. I haven't had time yet to read the Hedegaard
so I can't put the remarks in that context. I presume you're not
that one ought to categorize Danish culture as pathologically
or nasty. I don't understand how that kind of appeal to "what we in
west... recognize" (which "we" is that, exactly?) can claim to
identify the
roots of a failure to think in "fuzzy" terms, not least, of course,
it's not exactly a fuzzy way of putting things.


On 3/8/09 12:20 AM, "David Kellogg" <vaughndogblack@yahoo.com>

Dear Martin:

I don't find Jay's comments at all offensive, and they are
simplistic only in
the sense of being telegraphic (like the word "nasty"). Actually,
I find
work anything but simplistic; if anything it's a little too
nuanced for my
purposes (coding data involves a LOT of categorial distinctions!)

I interpreted Jay's comments in the context of Mariane Hedegaard's
particularly the ending, where Halime is describing her
relationship to the
Danish language and to the Danish "good life". I'm assuming that
this article
was written well after the Centre-Right Rasmussen government came
to power
2001) with, of course, the support of the Bush administration,
which they
promptly returned by embroiling Denmark in the Iraq War.

What is not so well known is that the Rasmussen government is
supported by
Dansk Folkeparti of Pia Kjaersgaard, which is the equivalent of
Jean Marie Le
Pen's Front Nationale in France or Jurg Haidar's neo-fascist
Party. This party, which has been shown to be infilitrated by
neo-Nazi organizations like Combat 18, opposes all forms of
consider white people to be oppressed by the Muslim minority in
Denmark, and
after 9/11 Kjaersgaard said that the Americans were wrong to call
this a
of civilizations because "There is only one civilization and that
is ours."

Here are some quotations from their parliamentary delegation, just
to give
some sense of what Halime is talking about:

Morten Messerschmidt, DPP member of Danish Parliament:

"I believe that all Muslim communities are, by definition, loser
The Muslims are not capable of critical thinking."[24]

Pia Kjærsgaard's newsletter (February 25, 2002):

"The Social Security Act is passé because it was tailored to a
Danish family
tradition and work ethic and not to Muslims, for whom it is fair
to be
provided for by others while the wife gives birth to a lot of
children. The
child benefit grant is being taken advantage of, as an immigrant
achieves a
record income due to [having] just under a score of children. New
limits must be introduced for group rapes because the problem only
with the vandalism of the many anti-social second-generation

It seems to me that in the USA in the sixties and again today
there was a
fairly common liberal sentiment to the effect that racism was
above all just
bad idea, and that since it was nothing more than a bad idea, it
could be
cured fairly easily by a dose of Sidney Poitier or Barack Obama.

The corollary of this sentiment is that, of course, the oppressed
must not be
allowed to cherish similar bad ideas, not merely because it might
provoke the
oppressor to even more savage acts of oppression but above all
because racism
is just a bad idea in general.

Well, it doesn't take much to show that this liberal sentiment is
wrong. Sidney Poitier did not cure American racism, and neither
will Barack
Obama. The reason is simple; racism is not "just a bad idea" but,
like any
other pervasive and systematic ideology, a reflection of real
historical conditions.

Specifically, racism reflects the historical conditions of
American slavery,
European colonialism, and the not merely historical reserve army
of the
unemployed, which is growing by leaps and bounds as we speak.
Perhaps it's
time to consider the idea that so-called "reverse racism", or
rather, the
of the oppressed, is really NOT part of the problem, but in fact
part of the

David Kirshner's colleague, Kaustuv Roy, has written a wonderful
David!) called Neighborhoods of the Plantation which begins with a
from Walter Benjamin on immigration and borders as a means of
"culture" pure. Benjamin committed suicide when, fleeing the
Nazis, he was
allowed to pass from occupied France into Spain :

"Where frontiers are decided the adversary is not simply
annihilated; indeed
he is accorded rights even when the victor's superiority of
power is
And these are, in a demonically ambiguous way, 'equal rights', for
parties ot the treat it is the same line that may not be crossed.
appears, in a terribly primitive form, the same mythical ambiguity
of laws
that may not be 'infringed' to which Anatole France refers
satirically when
says that 'Poor and rich are equally forbidden to spend the night

David Kellogg
Seoul National University of Education

xmca mailing list

xmca mailing list

xmca mailing list

xmca mailing list

xmca mailing list

xmca mailing list

xmca mailing list

xmca mailing list

xmca mailing list