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Re: [xmca] Ethnomethodology


I think you're right to see a connection between ethnomethodology and
continental philosophy. The standard story about Garfinkel is that there
were two main influences on his work. The first was Talcott Parsons,
director of his doctoral thesis, who considered people to act on the basis
of unconscious motivations that were the result of needs internalized
through socialization. This is what Garfinkel later referred to as the
'judgmental dope' model of action. The other influence was Alfred Schutz, a
phenomenological sociologist who emphasized the continually active character
of human consciousness of the social world. Schutz proposed that each
individual is continually interpreting and typifying the events and actions
they see around them. Social science, he insisted, should build its concepts
on these first-level common-sense, everyday constructions. Very different
from Parsons' view, but the activity that Schutz focused on was very much
individual and cognitive. Starting there it was difficult for him to explain
how people can interact together to produce a shared, intersubjective,
reality. (His students Peter Berger and Thomas Luckmann tried to fill this
gap in their famous book 'The Social Construction of Reality.') What
Garfinkel has done is locate the activity of interpretation and recognition
in action itself, as something practical and social.

Schutz was a student (and research assistant) of Edmund Husserl, and so
Garfinkel would have been likely to explore other writing on phenomenology.
I've heard he was found in his office with a copy of Being and Time, and one
can also see allusions to Merleau-Ponty in his writing.

I will try to find the text you recommend. Thanks


On 3/10/09 8:45 PM, "Ed Wall" <ewall@umich.edu> wrote:

> Martin

>         Trespassing  a little on Michael's conversation with you,
> Garfinkel seems hardly radical - although perhaps usefully outrageous
> at times - and very much in line with aspects of Continental
> phenomenology  (which sometimes people narrow a bit too much).
> However, what may be of more interest is that I talked with Ann Rawls
> a few years ago and our conversation centered largely - for various
> reasons - on Eric Livingston and his work.  For me, at least, he seems
> to have the best handle on FA and Garfinkel (for somewhat obvious
> reasons). However, I have yet to read the piece Michael wrote (I
> wonder if he has read Livingston).
> If I might, I'll add to your list what I consider a sort of treat (I
> think Sacks commented a bit on this also especially the 'it' part):
> Harold Garfinkel, Michael Lynch, Eric Livingston (1981). The Work of a
> Discovering Science Construed with Materials from the Optically
> Discovered Pulsar
> Ed
> On Mar 10, 2009, at 1:19 PM, Martin Packer wrote:
>> Ed,
>> 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 view
>> 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
>> instance
>> 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
>> about
>> the categories. The data becomes merely an 'illustration' of the
>> categories,
>> and the end result is a 'theory' that takes the form of stated
>> regularities
>> 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
>> Ethnomethodology's
>> Program very useful, both the book and the 1996 article with the
>> same name.
>> Anne Rawls (she is the daughter of John Rawls) is writing some very
>> interesting pieces of EM, linking it to a fresh interpretation of
>> Durkheim's
>> 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. The
>> 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
>> grounds
>> of social action (pp. 1-98): Paradigm Publishers.
>> Martin
>> On 3/8/09 8:29 PM, "Ed Wall" <ewall@umich.edu> wrote:
>>> Martin
>>>        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:
>>>> David,
>>>> Coding does indeed not enable one to grasp the complexity of events.
>>>> It
>>>> ignores or denies, importantly, the intrinsic plurality or ambiguity
>>>> of
>>>> events/actions, and their reciprocal relations with context. Both of
>>>> these
>>>> 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
>>>> removed
>>>> from its sequential and material context.
>>>> These are reasons why I have always been more drawn to
>>>> ethnomethodology.
>>>> 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,"
>>>> published
>>>> 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
>>>> affection
>>>> 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
>>>> researcher
>>>> 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
>>>> agent's
>>>> 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
>>>> moment!
>>>> Martin
>>>> On 3/8/09 6:35 PM, "David Kellogg" <vaughndogblack@yahoo.com> wrote:
>>>>> Martin:
>>>>> 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
>>>>> reorganize
>>>>> the "present-practice-produce" paradigm of lessons here in Korea
>>>>> along the
>>>>> lines of his graphico-semiotic functions "getting attention--
>>>>> presenting
>>>>> information--checking integration".
>>>>> It's a VERY powerful way of looking at lessons: it explains why
>>>>> skilled
>>>>> 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
>>>>> understanding
>>>>> 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,
>>>>> from
>>>>> yesterday's introductory class:
>>>>> a)"Hi!"
>>>>> 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
>>>>> are
>>>>> 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
>>>>> envisions
>>>>> the relationship), and c) in eveything (even the grammar).
>>>>> Everything is
>>>>> everything.
>>>>> 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
>>>>> philosopher
>>>>> 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
>>>>> the
>>>>> analysis of the Jens data but even more strongly at the end in her
>>>>> analysis
>>>>> of, and even her refusal to analyze, the Halime data) is her emic
>>>>> (empathetic,
>>>>> 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
>>>>> this
>>>>> 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
>>>>> wrong.
>>>>> 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",
>>>>> recently
>>>>> misquoted by Al Qaida's Al Zawahiri with respect to Barack Obama.
>>>>> His
>>>>> 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,
>>>>> monolithic
>>>>> distinction between master and slave.
>>>>> But I am interfering with your time, Martin. Read Hedegaard--it's a
>>>>> real
>>>>> treat!
>>>>> 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
>>>>> article,
>>>>> so I can't put the remarks in that context. I presume you're not
>>>>> proposing
>>>>> that one ought to categorize Danish culture as pathologically
>>>>> monological,
>>>>> or nasty. I don't understand how that kind of appeal to "what we in
>>>>> the
>>>>> 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,
>>>>> because
>>>>> it's not exactly a fuzzy way of putting things.
>>>>> Martin
>>>>> On 3/8/09 12:20 AM, "David Kellogg" <vaughndogblack@yahoo.com>
>>>>> wrote:
>>>>>> 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
>>>>>> Jay's
>>>>>> 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
>>>>>> article,
>>>>>> 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
>>>>>> (in
>>>>>> 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
>>>>>> the
>>>>>> 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
>>>>>> Austrian
>>>>>> People's
>>>>>> Party. This party, which has been shown to be infilitrated by
>>>>>> terrorist
>>>>>> neo-Nazi organizations like Combat 18, opposes all forms of
>>>>>> immigration,
>>>>>> 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
>>>>>> clash
>>>>>> of civilizations because "There is only one civilization and that
>>>>>> is ours."
>>>>>> Here are some quotations from their parliamentary delegation, just
>>>>>> to give
>>>>>> you
>>>>>> 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
>>>>>> communities.
>>>>>> 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
>>>>>> punishment
>>>>>> limits must be introduced for group rapes because the problem only
>>>>>> arrived
>>>>>> with the vandalism of the many anti-social second-generation
>>>>>> immigrants."
>>>>>> [25]
>>>>>> 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
>>>>>> a
>>>>>> 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
>>>>>> simply
>>>>>> 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
>>>>>> material
>>>>>> 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
>>>>>> rage
>>>>>> of the oppressed, is really NOT part of the problem, but in fact
>>>>>> part of the
>>>>>> solution.
>>>>>> David Kirshner's colleague, Kaustuv Roy, has written a wonderful
>>>>>> book
>>>>>> (Thanks,
>>>>>> David!) called Neighborhoods of the Plantation which begins with a
>>>>>> quote
>>>>>> from Walter Benjamin on immigration and borders as a means of
>>>>>> keeping
>>>>>> "culture" pure. Benjamin committed suicide when, fleeing the
>>>>>> Nazis, he was
>>>>>> not
>>>>>> 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
>>>>>> complete.
>>>>>> And these are, in a demonically ambiguous way, 'equal rights', for
>>>>>> both
>>>>>> parties ot the treat it is the same line that may not be crossed.
>>>>>> Here
>>>>>> appears, in a terribly primitive form, the same mythical ambiguity
>>>>>> of laws
>>>>>> that may not be 'infringed' to which Anatole France refers
>>>>>> satirically when
>>>>>> he
>>>>>> says that 'Poor and rich are equally forbidden to spend the night
>>>>>> under
>>>>>> bridges.'"
>>>>>> David Kellogg
>>>>>> Seoul National University of Education
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