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Describing news : toward an alternative account Jackson, Nancy S. 1977

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DESCRIBING NEWS: TOWARD AN ALTERNATIVE ACCOUNT  by Nancy S. J a c k s o n B.A., U n i v e r s i t y o f B r i t i s h C o l u m b i a , 1974 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE ""OF MASTER OF ARTS  in  THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES D e p a r t m e n t o f A n t h r o p o l o g y and S o c i o l o g y U n i v e r s i t y o f B r i t i s h Columbia  We a c c e p t t h i s t h e s i s as c o n f o r m i n g to the required standard  THE UNIVERSITY OF, BRITISH COLUMBIA J u l y , 1977  Nancy S. J a c k s o n ,  19 7 7  In  presenting  this  an a d v a n c e d  degree  the  shall  I  Library  f u r t h e r agree  for  scholarly  by h i s of  this  written  at make  that  thesis  it  may It  is  fulfilment of of  British  available  for  for extensive  be g r a n t e d  financial  by  understood  gain  shall  of  University  Anthropology of  British  that  not  1 October  1977  requirements  Columbia,  I  agree  r e f e r e n c e and copying  of  this  copying  or  for  that  study. thesis  my D e p a r t m e n t  be a l l o w e d  and S o c i o l o g y  Columbia  the  t h e Head o f  permission.  2075 Wesbrook P l a c e Vancouver, Canada V6T 1W5  Date  freely  permission  purposes  for  in p a r t i a l  the U n i v e r s i t y  representatives.  Department  The  thesis  or  publication  without  my  ABSTRACT T h i s paper  i s concerned  knowledge w h i c h i s m e d i a t e d  with  factual  a practical  settings,  activity  This mediation  of p a r t i c u l a r persons,  activities  constitute particular f o r granted  i n factual  relations  in particular  accounts  e.g. crime, mental  illness,  These  and t h u s  constituted This  the a c t i v i t i e s  features of our  ethnicity,  i n which s o c i a l  and t h r o u g h w h i c h t h e y  approach  news.  which Turner  (1974) d e s c r i b e s as t h e s h i f t  Reasoning  "the doings" which c o n s t i t u t e  Attention  The  i n Organizational Settings"  social  of attention  order.  toward  ( T u r n e r 1974: 83)  i s f o c u s e d on t h e p r o d u c t i o n o f two k i n d s o f  accounts:  description, secondary  to observation.  s h a r e s many a s p e c t s o f t h e e t h n o m e t h o d o l o g i c a l "Practical  on  activities  phenomena a r e  are a v a i l a b l e  concern with  factual  practical  are b u i l t  T h i s work f o c u s s e s on t h o s e o r g a n i z e d p r a c t i c a l as p r e c i s e l y  into  o f knowing, w h i c h  i n t o much o f what we r e c o g n i z e as o b j e c t i v e society,  is i t -  i n which the world o f experience i s transformed  t h e forms i n w h i c h i t c a n be known and managed.  are taken  as a f o r m o f  by o r g a n i z a t i o n s and i n s t i t u t i o n s  w h i c h i n f o r m and a d m i n i s t e r o u r s o c i e t y . self  accounts  description  and news.  and p a r t i c u l a r l y  The p r i m a r y  on s o c i o l o g i c a l  f o c u s i s on news, and s e r v e s b o t h  a method o f w o r k i n g  sociologically,  d e v e l o p i n g an a c c o u n t  focus i s  description. to i l l u s t r a t e  and t o b e g i n t h e work o f  o f news as a s o c i a l l y  o r g a n i z e d phenomenon.  The  work begins by developing the b a s i s  d e s c r i p t i v e method, and basis  the i m p l i c a t i o n s  for sociology.  The  f o r the c r i t i q u e i s found i n the m a t e r i a l i s t method  Marx's view of s o c i a l r e l a t i o n s . has  f o r a c r i t i q u e of  derived  From the work of Marx, Smith  a procedure f o r s o c i o l o g y ,  "substructing"  which i n v o l v e s  and  which she  "returning  has  called  to the a c t u a l s o c i a l  r e l a t i o n s which generate those phenomena as they are named, the a c t u a l p r a c t i c e s of r e a l l i v i n g i n d i v i d u a l s , which are only b a s i s  f o r the e x i s t e n c e  the  of s o c i a l phenomena." (Smith 1977b)  This procedure p r o v i d e s an approach to s o c i o l o g i c a l d e s c r i p t i o n s which focusses on d e s c r i p t i o n i n a way Wittgenstein's notion which i n v o l v e s meaning."  t h a t i s s i m i l a r to  of a language-game, as a use  "a d e f i n i t e use  of language  of words, a d e f i n i t e way  of  (Smith 1977b)  The  f o l l o w i n g aspects of d e s c r i p t i v e method are  examined:  a)  How the d e s c r i p t i v e method gives c h a r a c t e r to i t s s u b j e c t ;  b)  How the d e s c r i p t i v e method obscures the o r g a n i z e d r e l a t i o n s of knowing as p a r t of the c o n s t i t u t i o n of the phenomenon;  c)  How the d e s c r i p t i v e use of terms i s dependent upon the o r i g i n a l working s e t t i n g , and how t h a t dependence may be u t i l i z e d to develop an a l t e r n a t i v e procedure f o r doing accounts.  a determinate  Two  accounts  of 'Sources of News" are presented.  The  first  i l l u s t r a t e s a c o n v e n t i o n a l form of d e s c r i p t i o n ; the second i s an attempt to begin to develop of  an account which has  the c h a r a c t e r  an e x p l i c a t i o n , and which would p r o v i d e an a l t e r n a t i v e t o  conventional d e s c r i p t i o n .  Some o b s e r v a t i o n s are made about  problems i n l e a r n i n g to put together an account which avoids o b j e c t i f i c a t i o n by t a k i n g as i t s problematic what":, i s a l r e a d y given i n d e s c r i p t i o n • - t h a t the phenomenon i s there to be described.  An e x p l i c a t i v e account i s d e s c r i b e d as one which  must be entered  from w i t h i n the o r g a n i z a t i o n of s o c i a l  relations  i n which the phenomenon a r i s e s .  The d i s c u s s i o n of "Sources of News" i s c o n s i d e r e d as i n d i c a t i o n of how  i t would be p o s s i b l e to work on l a r g e r aspects  of news p r o d u c t i o n , or on other forms of o r g a n i z a t i o n . method i s d e s c r i b e d as one which allows us to see how  The accounts  are produced as p a r t of a l a r g e r o r g a n i z a t i o n which g i v e s determination  an  to what emerges as the  product.  iv  TABLE OF  CONTENTS  Page ABSTRACT  i  TABLE OF CONTENTS  '  iv  ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS  v  CHAPTER ONE:  1  CHAPTER TWO:  INTRODUCTION On D e s c r i p t i o n  10  On News  13  Some B a c k g r o u n d  15  ON DESCRIPTIVE METHOD  23  I . How t h e d e s c r i p t i v e method a determinate character II.  How t h e d e s c r i p t i v e the  III.  organized  gives 35  method o b s c u r e s  relations  o f knowing . . .  How t h e d e s c r i p t i v e u s e o f t e r m s i s d e p e n d e n t upon t h e o r i g i n a l s e t t i n g  42  . .  50  CHAPTER THREE: TOWARD E X P L I C A T I V E ACCOUNTS  58  D e s c r i b i n g S o u r c e s o f News: Illustration S o u r c e s o f News: Account .  D o i n g An  Toward O t h e r E x p l i c a t i v e CHAPTER FOUR:  BIBLIOGRAPHY  CONCLUSION  An 60 Explicative 62  Accounts  72 - -  76  8  4  V  ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS I am p r o f o u n d l y and  direction  vision and  indebted  t o Dorothy Smith f o r t h e c o n c e p t i o n  o f t h e work t h a t i s p r e s e n t e d  here.  I t i s her  f o r s o c i o l o g y t h a t I am engaged i n l e a r n i n g ,  e x p r e s s i n g i n these pages.  I am g r a t e f u l  practicing,  to her f o r  e n c o u r a g e m e n t and c r i t i c i s m ,  r e s e a r c h funds  as w e l l as d o z e n s o f l u n c h e s  and c h a l l e n g i n g d i s c u s s i o n s . F o r  four years  she h a s p e r s i s t e n t l y  of.-; t h e s o c i a l w o r l d ,  with  chipped  and o f f i c e  away a t my  the remarkable  space,  understanding  sensitivity  to the  l e a r n i n g p r o c e s s w h i c h i s v a l u e d by a l l t h o s e who have worked with her.  I a l s o want t o e x p r e s s labour o f various kinds  Elvi  Whittaker  enthusiam has  i s represented  gave g e n e r o u s l y  t o l a u n c h me i n t o  continually  heartfelt  t o t h e o t h e r s whose  here:  o f her time,  k n o w l e d g e , and  t h e w a t e r s o f n o n - p o s i t i v i s m , and  c h a l l e n g e d me a l o n g  I have n o t i n d e e d ,  thanks  t h e way t o d e m o n s t r a t e  r u n aground once a g a i n .  Her a d v i c e  that  arid  d i r e c t i o n have been h i g h l y v a l u e d .  Helga graduate  Jacobsen  made p o s s i b l e a p r o g r a m c o m b i n i n g  s t u d i e s , and ' m a t e r n i t y '  d i a p e r ) w h i c h s t a r t e d me o n t h i s contribution of criticism  (including endeavor.  have b e e n g r e a t l y  employment,  the o c c a s i o n a l d i r t y H e r s u p p o r t and appreciated.  vi  Newsroom p e r s o n n e l , who go unnamed, shared t h e i r generously,  time  and k i n d l y endured my endless q u e s t i o n s and  i n q u i s i t i v e gaze.  A l i s o n B o u l t e r ; Marie Campbell and Marguerite  C a s s i n c o n t r i b u t e d t o a c l i m a t e o f mutual support and enquiry which we shared d u r i n g the past year.  Dorothy R e s t a l l -provided  the t y p i n g s k i l l s  draft.  t o produce the f i n a l  P a r t s o f the r e s e a r c h were supported Grant  by Canada C o u n c i l  #S73-1457.  Finally,  I wish t o acknowledge the c o o p e r a t i o n and  encouragement o f my f a m i l y , B i l l  and Mandy  Jackson.  - 1 -  CHAPTER ONE INTRODUCTION  In the present work a concern with news and a concern d e s c r i p t i o n are fundamentally  interwoven.  with  Both are understood  as p a r t o f a s p e c i f i c i n t e r e s t i n f a c t u a l and documentary accounts  as c h a r a c t e r i s t i c of how our s o c i e t y i s known and  administered.  Both j o u r n a l i s m and s o c i o l o g y p r o v i d e  f o r the p r o d u c t i o n o f these  occasions  accounts.  Our knowledge o f the world i s i n v a r i o u s ways mediated by o r g a n i z a t i o n s which do the work o f t r a n s f o r m i n g the world o f experience i n t o f a c t u a l o r documentary forms i n which i t can be known and administered, e.g. news r e p o r t s , medical  records,  p o l i c e r e p o r t s , insurance r e c o r d s , b i r t h c e r t i f i c a t e s , etc.  Since much o f our knowledge comes t o us through  channels,  licenses, such  the mediated c h a r a c t e r o f our knowledge i s fundamental  to how we are r e l a t e d to the world i n which we  live.  A mediated knowledge i s not only the mode o f knowing f o r government, b u s i n e s s t h e  p r o f e s s i o n s , o r s o c i a l science.- I t  i s a l s o the mode o f knowing which i s a v a i l a b l e to a l l persons as o r d i n a r y members o f our s o c i e t y .  We depend upon the p r o d u c t i o n  - 2 of  knowledge by others to inform us about what goes on beyond  the l i m i t s o f our d a i l y e x p e r i e n c e . of  knowledge "by r e p o r t " .  News i s one of these forms  News i s r e l i e d upon i n many ways not  only to i n f o r m us as p r i v a t e persons, but as p a r t of t h e  public  d i a l o g u e which c a s t s us i n given ways as p a r t i c i p a n t s i n the economic and p o l i t i c a l p r o c e s s .  Similarly,  sociological  d e s c r i p t i o n i s r e l i e d upon as a method of o r g a n i z i n g the world so t h a t we may intelligensia.  know i t from a p o s i t i o n occupied by the I t i s the p r a c t i c e s which c o n s t i t u t e these v a r i o u s  o r g a n i z e d r e l a t i o n s of knowing which are the c e n t r a l i s s u e i n t h i s paper.  F a c t u a l accounts are produced  i n determinate  organizational  contexts which mediate between the world of e x p e r i e n c e , i . e . what people a c t u a l l y do, and the knowledge which i s made a v a i l a b l e as a means to know the world.  T h i s mediation i s i t s e l f a p r a c t i c a l  a c t i v i t y , i n a c t u a l s e t t i n g s of work, such as governing, administr a t i v e , and e d u c a t i o n a l o r g a n i z a t i o n s .  In these s e t t i n g s , the work  i s done which transforms the world of experience i n t o the forms i n which i t can be known and managed.  What i s s p e c i a l to our k i n d of s o c i e t y i s that much which we r e c o g n i z e as t h a t which we know...is a l r e a d y worked up and produced i n a process which mediates i t s r e l a t i o n to what men have a c t u a l l y done i n the p l a c e where the process begins. That mediating process itself is a practical activity. I t includes at l e a s t 1  l l n her e a r l i e r work, Smith f o l l o w s the g e n e r a l convention of u s i n g maculine pronouns to r e p r e s e n t both sexes.  -  3 -  these: procedures f o r f i n d i n g , s e l e c t i n g and o r d e r i n g from, o r i g i n a l events. The events have themselves a s t r u c t u r e p r i o r to and s t a n d i n g i n an i n d e t e r m i n a t e r e l a t i o n to the s t r u c t u r e of the account; the making of an account; and then the determinate s e q u e n t i a l procedure by which t h a t account i s brought forward to the p o i n t at which i t i s read or heard or seen. (Smith, 1974a:54)  T h i s paper  i s concerned with these p r a c t i c a l  examines the p r o d u c t i o n o f f a c t u a l activity  of p a r t i c u l a r persons, i n p a r t i c u l a r  p a r t i c u l a r purposes particular in  a c c o u n t s as a  i n mind.  enterprise,  and  It  practical  settings,  They a r e p r o d u c e d  t h e methods t h a t  activities.  and  with  as p a r t o f a  are used  t o do  them  o r d e r t o meet t h e r e q u i r e m e n t s o f t h e e n t e r p r i s e g i v e d e t e r -  mination  t o what emerges as t h e p r o d u c t .  A v e r y g e n e r a l a c c o u n t o f the p r o c e s s under e x a m i n a t i o n m i g h t go l i k e t h i s : f i r s t t h e r e i s something "out t h e r e " t h a t a c t u a l l y happened. This out there-ness can be c h a r a c t e r i z e d as t h a t w h i c h happens as embedded i n the temporal f l o w of e x p e r i e n c e , a c t i o n , becoming, w h i c h i s t h e w o r l d as i t i s l i v e d ; t h e n t h e r e i s a work (which a l s o , o f c o u r s e t a k e s p l a c e i n t h i s same mode) which produces a w r i t t e n account of t h a t which a c t u a l l y happened. I n d o i n g so i t draws a b o u n d a r y a r o u n d i t ( i n t h e o r i g i n a l i t may n o t have been b o u n d e d ) . It t r a n s f o r m s i t i n t o an " i t " . I t c o n s t i t u t e s i t as a d i s t i n c t "what a c t u a l l y h a p p e n e d " , as an e v e n t o r s t a t e . T h i s p r o c e s s o f m a k i n g an a c c o u n t i n d o c u m e n t a r y f o r m i s s o c i a l l y o r g a n i z e d . We c a n c a l l i t t h e s o c i a l o r g a n i z a t i o n of the p r o d u c t i o n o f a f a c t u a l account. ( S m i t h , 1976b:l)  I would l i k e as  used by  often  to focus b r i e f l y  Smith above and  a source of c o n f u s i o n  on  the  term " s o c i a l  throughout t h i s paper. and  This  organization" term i s  misunderstanding of work o f  the  - 4 f  kind  t h a t i s t o be p r e s e n t e d  used  i n a way w h i c h d e p a r t s  o b v i o u s , ways f r o m anthropology. study  here,  i n t h a t the term  i n important,  i s being  i f not altogether  i t s c o n v e n t i o n a l use i n - s o c i o l o g y and  The p r o b l e m h a s t o do w i t h how  the o b j e c t s o f  are constituted.  I n t h e p r e s e n t work t h e t e r m  "social  to i d e n t i f y  organization" or  "socially  organized"  i s used  a realm  of organized  practical  activities  i n w h i c h s o c i a l phenomena come i n t o  w i t h t h e appearance o f o b j e c t i v e f e a t u r e s o f the s o c i a l it  identifies  an " o n t o l o g i c a l "  That  i s , these  into  e x i s t e n c e by b e i n g  They  'exist'  people  terms i d e n t i f y  as s o c i a l  i n which these  are fundamentally existence  than  status of social a domain i n w h i c h  forms a r e p r o d u c e d  i n their  argue,  accomplisment.  from  the understanding  on  and p e o p l e s '  one.  o b j e c t s as e s s e n t i a l l y  constituted objects  as a p p e a r a n c e s .  social  activities,  and i s m a i n t a i n e d  This i s a materialist  a positivist  ' o b j e c t s ' come  They  Rather,  and w h a t e v e r  i n and by  those  p o s t i o n , b u t n o t , I would work o f t h i s  intersubjective  intersubjectively.  that  kind  focusses  - as a r i s i n g  T h i s work presumes t h a t  and b e i n g such  are a v a i l a b l e  t o o b s e r v a t i o n o n l y i n s o f a r as t h e  organization of social  a c t s w h i c h b r i n g s them i n t o b e i n g as  social  socially.  c o n s t r u c t i o n , and have no o t h e r  ongoing,  comes i n t o b e i n g  activities.  phenomena.  pheonomena o n l y i n t h e a c t i v i t i e s o f  T h i s way o f w o r k i n g p r o c e d e s  'exists'  world;  a s s e m b l e d , o r g a n i z e d as phenomena,  a social  there are only people  being  objects i s available  to observation.  This  understanding  - 5 -  is  the b a s i s  'objective  1  f o r an a p p r o a c h t o most o f what we features  of our s o c i e t y :  d e v i a n c e , news, c u l t u r e ,  Take  organization. arises is,  A gift  o f candy  as a g i f t  does  a social  ( c f . Smith  not e x i s t  i s a box  o f candy,  relation  an o c c a s i o n  organization.  to catch  relation  among t h o s e p e o p l e w h i c h  occasion  i n t o b e i n g , assembles meeting-ness  b e i n g as a s o c i a l  the  b u t i t may  o f exchange  t h e y may a train, brings  That  be o r g a n i z e d  between p e o p l e .  only e x i s t s  etc.  as  I t i s not that  ' m e e t i n g ' has no e x i s t e n c e  in a  for a  It is a  particular  the meeting-ness  o f an as into  a meeting i s  or r e l a t i o n s ,  in-those a c t i v i t i e s .  Thus t h e t e r m s o c i a l  be w a i t i n g  or o r g a n i z e s the o c c a s i o n  s e t of a c t i v i t i e s  constituted precisely  i t mediates.  i s s o c i a l l y organized, brought  organization.  p r o d u c e d by a g i v e n  social  as s u c h o t h e r t h a n as i t  s u c h as a m e e t i n g  a meeting;  movie t o s t a r t , w a i t i n g  The  A gift is  That i s , a group o f p e o p l e s i t t i n g  room do n o t c o n s t i t u t e  a meeting.  1976c).  between p e o p l e w h i c h  in a particular  Similarly,  ethnicity,  i s b r o u g h t i n t o b e i n g as a p a r t i c u l a r  i n the r e l a t i o n s  a box  status,  as  gifts, etc.  t h e example o f a g i f t  a phenomenon w h i c h  order,  recognize  Without  but that those  i t is  activities  whatsoever.  organization points  the o b j e c t s o f study are c o n s t i t u t e d .  t o a domain i n w h i c h  I t begins to i d e n t i f y  an  - 6 -  epistemological is  r e a l m w i t h i n w h i c h t h i s work i s l o c a t e d .  It  a r e a l m w h i c h i s e s t a b l i s h e d i n t h e work o f e t h n o m e t h o d o l o g y .  What e t h n o m e t h o d o l o g y has begun t o do i s work b a c k f r o m t h e familiar and  forms i n w h i c h t h e s o c i a l  d e s c r i b e d , t o an a c c o u n t  including  process  i s ordinarily  of the " p r a c t i c a l  organized p r a c t i c a l  known  reasoning",  activities,  i n which these  forms  One k e y a r e a i n t o w h i c h work o f t h i s  k i n d has t a k e n  ethno-  are c o n s t i t u t e d .  methodologists refers  i s into organizational settings.  t o work o f t h i s  organization  k i n d as " n o n - r e i f i e d "  Heap  (1975)  accounts  of  (see G a r f i n k e l , 1967; C i c o u r e l , 1968; Zimmerman, 1 9 7 0 ) .  F o r example, i n T u r n e r ' s  collection  of readings  entitled  Ethnomethodology, t h e r e i s a s e c t i o n o f e i g h t a r t i c l e s i n v a r i o u s ways w i t h Settings".  "Practical Reasoning  The s e t t i n g s  way house f o r c o n v i c t s .  agency, a c r i s i s  Turner  directs  "the s h i f t  of attention...towards  practices,  the 'doings' which c o n s t i t u t e  from these  the products practices".  Zimmerman  (e.g. records)  investigating social  (1969) p r o v i d e s an e x c e l l e n t  a P u b l i c Welfare  c e n t e r , and a h a l f  us i n t h e s e  conceived  officers,  articles to  the production o r d e r , and away  o f as i n d e p e n d e n t  of  (Turner, 1974:83)  k i n d o f work i n h i s a r t i c l e in  deal  i n Organizational  i n c l u d e t h e work o f j u v e n i l e  a h o s p i t a l ward, a w e l f a r e  which  "Record  Keeping  illustration  of this  and t h e I n t a k e  A g e n c y " , where he examines t h e t a k e n  Process  f o r granted  -  use  o f documents i n a w e l f a r e  t o show how r e c o r d s a c h i e v e accounts  i n the s e t t i n g  7 -  intake process.^  their  s t a t u s as o f f i c i a l ,  the information contained  practical  concern,  (Zimmerman,  Turner  objectivity,  i n those  and an e v e r y d a y ,  summarizes  this  forinvestigation  and  i n and i n t e g r a l  sees  embedded  1974:10)  s o c i a l world this  clients,  as " t o p i c a l l y  available  scenes..." takes  t o the s o c i a l  1974:10)  kind t o the "natural a t t i t u d e "  i s the r e l a t i o n o f (Schutz).  Ethno-  work does n o t make t h e c l a i m t o p r o d u c e a members'  experience:  cases,  scenes  and a c h i e v i n g " , and  p o i n t o f v i e w , t h o u g h t h e work b e g i n s w i t h t h e members'  problematic  He c h a r a c t e r i z e s t h e work a s t h a t w h i c h  (Turner,  methodological  "makes  the action  t o those  One p o i n t w h i c h needs t o be made c l e a r work o f t h i s  f o c u s on p r a c t i c a l  and a n a l y s i s ) t h e  i n producing  t o be "a c o n s t a n t d o i n g  "doing"  scientist".  everyday,  accomplishment."  as t h a t which  activities  the  i s an  practical  c h a r a c t e r o f members'  (Turner,  and i m p e r s o n a l i t y  ethnomethodological  activities  i s t o say, a t o p i c  the talk  records  He  1969:321)  r e a s o n i n g and p r a c t i c a l (which  authoritative  o f t h e i r p r o d u c t i o n and u s e .  demonstrates t h a t the " f a c t u a l i t y , of  He i s c o n c e r n e d  suicides,  language, stories,  t h e landmarks o f  and s o c i a l phone t i p s ,  o b j e c t s , e.g. etc.  ^ T h i s a r t i c l e appears i n a b r i d g e d form i n Turner the t i t l e , " F a c t as P r a c t i c a l Accomplishment".  The e t h n o -  (19 7 4 ) ,  under  methodological work i s t h a t of p r o v i d i n g f o r how i t i s t h a t the language and s o c i a l phenomena o f the members'world are there t o be  experienced.  Zimmerman, f o r example, p o i n t s out t h a t f o r personnel i n the w e l f a r e agency he s t u d i e d , "...documents o f t e n had an obvious character.  They were seen by personnel as o b v i o u s l y f a c t u a l  r e p o r t s about a v a r i e t y o f circumstances  r e l e v a n t t o the d e t e r -  mination o f e l i g i b i l i t y . . . "  Zimmerman's work was  (1969:354).  concerned with how th'is f a c t i c i t y was an accomplisment of the a c t i v i t i e s of the workers themselves.  However t h i s was never  a problem from the worker's p o i n t o f view. for of  "When simply  taken  granted, the f e a t u r e s of these ordered domains are matters mere r e c o g n i t i o n f o r which no accounts  given.  Indeed, such r o u t i n e r e c o g n i t i o n , and the a c t i o n and  i n f e r e n c e proceeding worker".  are c a l l e d f o r o r  from i t , i s the mark o f the competent  (Zimmerman, 1969:354)  S i m i l a r l y , G a r f i n k e l p o i n t s out the d i s c r e p a n c y , between the work he and h i s c o l l e a g u e s were engaged i n a t the Los Angeles S u i c i d e P r e v e n t i o n Center, and the p e r s p e c t i v e of the personnel they were s t u d y i n g .  ...personnel a t the Los Angeles S u i c i d e P r e v e n t i o n Center found i t a l t o g e t h e r incongruous t o c o n s i d e r s e r i o u s l y t h a t they be so engaged i n the work of c e r t i f y i n g mode o f death [of] a person seeking t o commit s u i c i d e , and they c o u l d c o n c e r t t h e i r e f f o r t s to assure the unequivocal r e c o g n i t i o n o f "what r e a l l y happened". ( G a r f i n k e l 1967:7-8)  -  The similar selected  interest t o these aspects  i n factual  9 -  accounts  ethnomethodological of organized  i n the present concerns.  practical  paper i s  I t focuses  activities  on  both i n  t h e p r o d u c t i o n o f s o c i o l o g i c a l descr.ip.t'ions and i n t h e p r o d u c t i o n o f news a c c o u n t s . of d e s c r i p t i v e arise  accounts  as p r a c t i c a l  activities is  The a i m i s t o e x p l o r e how  of their  and t h e c h a r a c t e r o f news  accomplishments production  work on d e s c r i p t i o n s w i l l  The  1  people  The  practical  I n n e i t h e r c a s e , however, p o i n t o f view.  f o c u s on a s p e c t s  work on news p r o d u c t i o n w i l l  w h i c h a r e s e e n as h a v i n g  primary  focus  of descriptive  i n t h e work o f t h e s o c i o l o g i s t .  focus  on f e a t u r e s o f t h e work  an u n p r o b l e m a t i c  c h a r a c t e r by news-  i s on t h e s o c i o l o g i c a l  enterprise:  o f d e s c r i p t i o n s i n s o c i o l o g y , and on  adequate procedure  for sociological  f o c u s on t h e p r o d u c t i o n o f news t h e n  enquiry.  serves both  The  secondary  to i l l u s t r a t e  and t o b e g i n  developing  o r g a n i z a t i o n of the  an a c c o u n t  p r o d u c t i o n o f news.  of the s o c i a l  Neither of these  paper, of course,  developed.  on  developing  a method o f w o r k i n g s o c i o l o g i c a l l y ,  this  The  themselves.  the p r o d u c t i o n an  and u s e .  f o r granted  accounts  i n the organized  t h e work an e x p l i c a t i o n o f a members'  method w h i c h a r e t a k e n  the c h a r a c t e r  t h e work o f  t a s k s c a n be c o m p l e t e d i n  b u t some a s p e c t s  o f e a c h o f them c a n be  -  ON  DESCRIPTION Considerable  attention w i l l  the b a s i s f o r a c r i t i q u e c e n t r e o f t h i s work. of  10 -  be g i v e n  o f d e s c r i p t i v e method w h i c h i s a t t h e  The c r i t i q u e  f o l l o w s f r o m some  t h e work o f Marx and W i t t g e n s t e i n ,  developed  i n t h e work o f S m i t h .  examining t h i s  The  to e s t a b l i s h i n g  largely  aspects  as t h e y a r e  Chapter 2 w i l l  begin  by  work.  discussion w i l l  then  turn to s e v e r a l aspects  o f the  d e s c r i p t i v e method w h i c h a r e b r o u g h t t o o u r a t t e n t i o n by critique.  The work o f d e s c r i p t i o n w i l l  particular  e n t e r p r i s e t h a t i s done i n d e f i n i t e  has  definite  determinate  The  be d i s c u s s e d  concern  as a  s e t t i n g s and  methods o f g e t t i n g i t done, and w h i c h character  Smith's  lends  a  to i t s subject.  i s to begin  t o make v i s i b l e  these  aspects  of  d e s c r i p t i v e work as p a r t o f what t h e s o c i o l o g i s t s makes u s e o f at  a l e v e l w h i c h she t a k e s  poses a problem o f t h i s of J u v e n i l e J u s t i c e of  f o r granted  k i n d i n h i s work The S o c i a l  (1968).  He i s c o n c e r n e d w i t h  t a c i t k n o w l e d g e as a r e s o u r c e  He d e s c r i b e s under study  i n h e r work.  i n the doing  the problem of adequately as a c o m p l i c a t e d  one.  Cicourel Organization  the problem  of description.  "bottling"  t h e phenomenon  '  The c o m p l i c a t i o n s a r i s e b e c a u s e we must a t t e n d t o t h e p r o b l e m o f how t h e o b s e r v e r . . . u t i l i z e s t a c i t knowledge ( b a c k g r o u n d i n f o r m a t i o n o r what anyone "knows") i n i d e n t i f y i n g and s e l e c t i n g m a t e r i a l s . . .  -  11  -  and recommending i n t e r p r e t a t i o n s (as s t r a i g h t d e s c r i p t i o n s o r coded shorthand accounts) o r "what h a p p e n e d " . ...What s o r t s o f a g r e e m e n t s must b o t h t h e r e s e a r c h e r and r e a d e r a c h i e v e as c o n d i t i o n s f o r d e c i d i n g t h e v a r i o u s m e a n i n g s being rendered? Assuming both the r e s e a r c h e r and t h e r e a d e r a r e members o f t h e same s o c i e t y , i t m i g h t be e a s y t o a g r e e on t h e meaning o f p h y s i c a l i t e m s l i k e c h a i r s and t a b l e s . . . b u t I am i n t e r e s t e d i n how we a s s i g n u n e q u i v o c a l m e a n i n g t o a j u v e n i l e ' s t o n e o f v o i c e when a p o l i c e o f f i c e r or a p r o b a t i o n o f f i c e r or judge l a b e l s such behaviour " i n d e f i a n c e of a u t h o r i t y " o r an i n d i c a t i o n o f a "bad a t t i t u d e " . Other p r o b l e m s i n c l u d e a g r e e m e n t on t h e meaning o f g e s t u r e s , j o k e s , a n x i e t y , and t h e l i k e . The c o m p l i c a t i o n s a r e enormous. ( C i c o u r e l , 1968:2-3)  The as  argument w i l l  a particular  into  k i n d of  and  existing  examine how relation the  taken  independently  organized  of  these  seen  which b u i l d s aspects. upon  p r a c t i c e s i n w h i c h phenomena  f o r granted  t h e method t a k e s  by  r e p r e s e n t i n g the  practices.  f o r granted  the  It will  organized  objects  also social  i n w h i c h a phenomenon i s c o n s t i t u t e d as what i t i s f o r  observer,  by  account o f the  e l i m i n a t i n g t h e p r e s e n c e o f a knower f r o m  o b j e c t of knowledge.  d e s c r i p t i v e method w i l l be  (Wittgenstein)  be  t h e cTe-scriptive method depends  socially  which are  t h a t d e s c r i p t i o n can  a number o f t a k e n - f o r - g r a n t e d  examine how  a knowledge o f the arise,  developed  l a n g u a g e game  d e s c r i p t i v e accounts  This paper w i l l  as  be  e x p l i c a t e d i n order  descriptive  accounts.  be  discussed  to provide  an  These a s p e c t s  of  the  as p a r t o f what needs adequate grounding  the  of  to  - 12  There  a r e two  related  -  q u e s t i o n s which u n d e r l i e  with d e s c r i p t i o n s which i s expressed here. kind It  o f work i t i s e x p e c t e d  seems t h a t  provide  c o n v e n t i o n a l l y d e s c r i p t i o n has  of the o b j e c t ,  is  the s e t t i n g ,  The  which d i s p l a y know s o m e t h i n g the r e s u l t  k i n d b e g i n t o do  If  how  t h e n as S m i t h  t o do  accounts  p o i n t s out,  i s put  i s t o be  sociology  (Smith)  has  this  o f phenomena that  in practice  have done o f them.  the s o c i a l world  to  claims to  i n s u c h a way  t h e work o f e x p l i c a t i n g ,  the task of d e s c r i p t i o n  f o r us.  been e x p e c t e d  they are c o n s t i t u t e d  o f t h e d e s c r i p t i o n s we  "summarizing",  s h o u l d do  from the c o n v i c t i o n t h a t  the o b j e c t s of d e s c r i p t i o n how  o f t h e s e i s what  t h e phenomenon t h a t . i t  i t i s necessary  about  concern  "summary o r e x p r e s s i o n "  p r e s e n t work b e g i n s  n o t enough; t h a t  of t h i s  that descriptions  an a d e q u a t e l y o b j e c t i v e  represent.  One  the  we  as  Accounts  rather  than  together.  this  explicative  work,  n o t made much p r o g r e s s .  ...the t o t a l i t y o f the s o c i a l p r o c e s s . . . awaits d e s c r i p t i o n , and a w a i t s d e s c r i p t i o n i n t h e f i r s t • p l a c e , p r i o r to the t h e o r e t i c a l i n t e r e s t s t h a t we may have as s o c i o l o g i s t s . I t h i n k i n the f i r s t p l a c e we d o n ' t r e a l l y know how t o d e s c r i b e i t p r o p e r l y . And I t h i n k t h i s i s t h e s o c i a l phenomenon; t h i s i s t h e s u b j e c t m a t t e r o f s o c i o l o g y . . . p r e c i s e l y t h i s s o c i a l process which b r i n g s i n t o b e i n g a world i n the c o n t e x t o f s o c i a l r e l a t i o n s as a c t u a l p r a c t i c e s . . . (Smith 1976c:10)  The  other q u e s t i o n , which i s suggested  t o do w i t h how is,  i f one  one  understands  assumes t h a t  by  the s o c i a l world  Smith  above,  to e x i s t .  f e a t u r e s of the s o c i a l world  exist  has That  -  objectively  and  description, one  13  are c o n c r e t e l y  -  available  t o o b s e r v a t i o n and  t h e n t h e k i n d o f a c c o u n t w h i c h one  w o u l d do i s  t h a t r e p r e s e n t s the f e a t u r e s of the s o c i a l world  most  'objective'  begins world  possible  light.  from the u n d e r s t a n d i n g are fundamentally  On  that  a social  are put  work c l e a r l y  subscribes to t h i s  reality  and  t h e o t h e r hand, i f one  the f e a t u r e s o f the  construction,  want t o do a c c o u n t s w h i c h e x p l i c a t e s o c i a l world  how  the  latter  social  t h e n one  features of  t o g e t h e r i n t h i s way.  the e x p l i c a t i v e  i n the  The  would the  present  version of  social  form o f accounts which i t  requires.  Thus t h e p r e s e n t p a p e r alternative  i n recommending  to conventional description.  explications, their  i s involved  or e x p l i c a t i v e  accounts,  We  have c a l l e d  to c a l l  c h a r a c t e r as a c c o u n t s w h i c h a d d r e s s  attention  the problem  it  i s t h a t t h e phenomena a r e t h e r e t o be d e s c r i b e d .  we  are concerned  w i t h d e v e l o p i n g and  account: which e x p l i c a t e s  of  these to how  That i s  recommending a f o r m  the s o c i a l l y  an  of  organized character of  phenomena.  ON" "NEWS The  interest  i n d e s c r i p t i o n which i s expressed here  a r i s e n as a c e n t r a l c o n c e r n o u t o f o n g o i n g social is  research into  o r g a n i z a t i o n o f t h e p r o d u c t i o n o f news.  f o c u s s e d on  has the  This research  t h e p r a c t i c e s w h i c h b r i n g news i n t o b e i n g as  an  -  ordinary sold in  f e a t u r e of the  i n a p a p e r , and  the world  In the  each  s o c i a l world  i s understood  of t h i s  the  t h a t can  bought  and  are  i n t i m a t e l y connected  occasions  of the p r o d u c t i o n of  Both i n v o l v e a s e t o f determinate between what p e o p l e  become  increasingly  the problems o f the p r o d u c t i o n to our  r e s e a r c h , which i s the p r o d u c t i o n  Both are  be  t o r e p r e s e n t what happens  r e s e a r c h i t has  ^ c l e a r t h a t t h e methods' and  in  -  day.  course  news a c c o u n t s  14  actually  do  own  enterprise  of s o c i o l o g i c a l factual  the  accounts.  accounts.  p r a c t i c e s which  and  of  account  mediate  of  that  a c t i v i t y which i s produced.  The  concern  i n the  examine t h e o r g a n i z e d  o n g o i n g r e s e a r c h on  practical  activities  news has  i n the world  we  t h e ways i n w h i c h  mediating  i t as news, and  to f i n d  practices give determination  to  o f news p r o d u c t i o n  w h i c h m e d i a t e between what goes on know o f  been  and  t h a t which those  t o what emerges as  the  product.  In the p r e s e n t  p a p e r , some p r e l i m i n a r y a c c o u n t s  o f news p r o d u c t i o n w i l l begin will of  be  to e x p l i c a t e these f o c u s on  introduced which are  organized  and  will  i n d i c a t e how  p r o d u c t i o n which a r i s e a l s o be  explored.  such  be  o f news aspects  organized practice  suggested  to  The d i s c u s s i o n  sources  more g e n e r a l  as a s o c i a l l y  It will  as  aspects  intended  the a c t i v i t i e s which c o n s t i t u t e o r d i n a r y  t h e work o f news p r o d u c t i o n ,  phone t i p s ,  practices.  of  t h a t the  features and o f news may  language  of  - 15 -  j o u r n a l i s t s themselves may  be used to o r g a n i z e an i n q u i r y  into  these p r a c t i c e s .  SOME BACKGROUND The r e s e a r c h on news has a r a t h e r long h i s t o r y .  I t began  i n 1973 w i t h a graduate seminar on the s o c i o l o g y of knowledge. The focus o f . t h a t seminar was documentary  on the s o c i a l c o n s t r u c t i o n o f  forms o f knowledge.  as an example of a documentary  News was  s t u d i e d by the group  form o f knowledge which i s  produced as an ongoing, d a i l y occurance, and i s p a r t i c u l a r l y a v a i l a b l e to study. of news:  Students d i d f i e l d work on v a r i o u s aspects  t e l e v i s i o n news, labour news  r e p o r t i n g f o r a news-  paper, c i t y h a l l beat r e p o r t i n g f o r newspaper, a l t e r n a t i v e newspapers.  One outgrowth from that seminar was  a summer p r o j e c t funded  by the p r o v i n c i a l Department of Labour under the P r o f e s s i o n s f o r Tomorrow program. News P r o j e c t .  The p r o j e c t was  c a l l e d the B. C. Community  The summer's work focussed on the i s s u e s of  ownership and c o n t r o l of newspapers i n the lower mainland of B.C.  T h i s r e s e a r c h c a l l e d i n t o q u e s t i o n the w i d e l y accepted  f o r m u l a t i o n s of c o n c e n t r a t i o n of ownership as a source of b i a s i n the news, such as the work of P o r t e r  (1965), Clement  (1975),  and the Report of the S p e c i a l Senate Committee on Mass Media  (1970).  - 16  Following  from  -  the seminar  and  summer p r o j e c t ,  several  o f t h e s t u d e n t s i n v o l v e d have done M a s t e r s t h e s e s on o f news, u s i n g i n v a r i o u s ways t h e b a s i c developed  i n the e a r l i e r  d i d work on  l a b o u r news r e p o r t i n g  f o c u s s i n g on by  the d e f i n i t i o n  the s o c i a l l y  reporting  a daily  and  paper,  has  and  of t e l e v i s i o n  t o one  literature  the p r a c t i c a l  another  found p a r t i c u l a r l y  w h i c h we  Lester, in  Elliott,  in their  Webster  beat  of  reporting  Busswood[(forthcoming)  w h i c h a r e i n v a r i o u s ways approach  studies  interesting  and  and  t o news, t h e r e i s some s o c i o l o g y w h i c h we  helpful,  even though  have  for  H a l l o r a n & Murdock, R.  Darnton,  be  seen  to d i f f e r  and w h i l e none r e p r e s e n t s e x a c t l y h e r e , what t h e y do  (1971);  (1970);. H.  (1975); M.  t h e r e c e n t work o f G.  t h e s e works w i l l  F o r example,  i n t h e work o f J . T u n s t a l l ,  (1973, 1974);  developed  hall  between  Kevin  have been a t t e m p t i n g t o d e v e l o p .  particular  Sylvia  i t does n o t s h a r e p r e c i s e l y , t h e p e r s p e c t i v e  were i n t e r e s t e d (1973);  paper,  o r g a n i z a t i o n of the p r o d u c t i o n  to these papers  i n communication  t h e most p a r t  the c i t y  the r e l a t i o n  (1975)  news.  In a d d i t i o n related  f o c u s s e d on  on  was  i t i s constructed  o f newswork.  e t h n o g r a p h i c methods.  done work on  Marilee Paulson  o f l a b o u r news as  practices  topic  framework w h i c h  i n a major d a i l y  organized practices  (1977) s t u d i e d  practices  activities.  the  Tuchman,  E.J.  Molotch  and  (1976)  (1976).  While  the approach  p r e s e n t work i s a c o n c e r n w i t h t h e p r a c t i c a l  Epstein,  Fishman  q u i t e w i d e l y among  s h a r e w i t h one  we  and  themselves,  that w i l l  another  M.  be  and w i t h  the  a s p e c t s o f newswork  -  as s i g n i f i c a n t  The of  19 75  work r e p r e s e n t e d i n t h e p r e s e n t p a p e r  t o Dorothy  O r g a n i z a t i o n o f News". "investigate  The  the  t r a n s f o r m an o r i g i n a l  stated  actual  c a p a b l e o f a n a l y z i n g and  Smith  socially  news i n a newspaper", and  event  examining  Grant  Proposal.)  Both  which i s presented  The  Social  aims o f t h e r e s e a r c h p r o j e c t organized practices into  the  f o r m o f an  "concepts  and  the r e l a t i o n s  actual  which  event".  item of  methods  between  the  t h e news  (Canada C o u n c i l  i n t h i s paper,  although  i t i s far  b e e n done i n e i t h e r  from of  these  i n the course of the r e s e a r c h .  The  field  July,  work f o r t h i s  19 76.  views.  During  approximately  January to  February  and  March, I  the interspent  a d o z e n p e r i o d s o f o b s e r v a t i o n i n t h e newsroom, a 50 h o u r s .  I n t h e months A p r i l  i n t e r v i e w s were c o n d u c t e d  much t i m e was  w h i c h had  done between  newspaper t o do o b s e r v a t i o n s and  t h e months o f J a n u a r y ,  total.'of: r o u g h l y additional  p r o j e c t was  A r r a n g e m e n t s were made t o have a c c e s s  newsroom o f a m a j o r d a i l y  and  fall  o f t h e s e aims a r e r e p r e s e n t e d i n t h e work  e x h a u s t i v e o f t h e work t h a t has  of  "The  o r g a n i z a t i o n o f t h e p r o d u c t i o n o f news and as a r e p r e s e n t a t i o n o f an  and  to study  to develop  story  areas  began i n t h e  s p o n s o r s h i p o f a Canada C o u n c i l G r a n t .  f u n d s were g r a n t e d  social  -  i n t h e d e t e r m i n a t i o n o f t h e c h a r a c t e r o f news.  under the  were t o  17  jointly  to July  a number  w i t h Dorothy  Smith,  given to the s e r i o u s methodological c o n s i d e r a t i o n s  been h i g h l i g h t e d  by  the  field  experience.  -  The  goal  we c a l l e d  18 -  of our o b s e r v a t i o n a l  a "focussed  work was t o p r o d u c e what  ethnography",  i . e . one aimed a t a d e s c r i p t i o n  of d e f i n i t e aspects o f the o r g a n i z a t i o n a l process. was r e s t r i c t e d interested and  to the production  i n observing  a t the c i t y  desk.  reporters  operate p r i m a r i l y outside  by  phone.  t h e newsroom.  This  to the ordering  of the r e l a t i o n  observers  t o t h e s e t t i n g and t o p e o p l e  focussed  t h e way  social;  that  their  as  i n t h e newsroom as  informants.  We  activity  organization d i d not look f o r within  an  as a p r o c e s s w h i c h i s f u n d -  as s o m e t h i n g w h i c h a r i s e s b e t w e e n p e o p l e i n activities  c o m p l i m e n t one a n o t h e r ization  give our  of ourselves  produced.  o f news as a p r a c t i c a l  i n d i v i d u a l ' s p r a c t i c e , but rather amentally  o f news s t o r i e s  on t h e p r a c t i c e s o f i n d i v i d u a l s  o f work by w h i c h news i s s o c i a l l y construction  which  resulted  t h a t we  as t h e y were r e l a t e d t o one a n o t h e r i n t h e t o t a l  the  concerned  t h e work o f t h e r e w r i t e  The aims o f o u r work a l s o r e q u i r e d  observations  e d i t o r s and  focus;  news, and t h e d e v e l o p i n g  attention  Our  and c i t y  activities  s e r v i c e s o r on b e a t s  a t t e n t i o n t o the assignment process,  desk, s o u r c e s o f l o c a l  focus  We were  We were n o t , t h e r e f o r e ,  w i t h news w h i c h i s p r o d u c e d by w i r e  in  news.  and d e s c r i b i n g t h e p r a c t i c a l  working r e l a t i o n s of general  assistants  of local  Our  depend upon one a n o t h e r and  i n an o r g a n i z a t i o n  o f work.  became a v a i l a b l e t o us by a t t e n d i n g  w h i c h i s i n t e g r a l to t h a t work.  This  organ-  t o the language  -  - The O b s e r v a t i o n a l  Setting  Observations periods the it  were made i n t h e newsroom  o f t h e day.  evening  shift,  as i t was  found t h a t a t t h i s  was p o s s i b l e t o l e a r n a g r e a t  disruptive.  was  visited  my  presence there  of the s e t t i n g , a few t i m e s o n l y ,  after  and f i n a l l y as i t was  being  The sits  city  desk, which s u p e r v i s e s  greatly  the morning  the b u s i e s t  shift  period  presence  the w r i t i n g o f l o c a l  o f t h e l a r g e , b u s y newsroom,  o f r e p o r t e r s desks  activities  t i m e o f day  convenient.  i n the center  cluster The  least  during  I had a p r e l i m i n a r y  t h e day i n t h e newsroom a n d t h e t i m e when my  t h e r e was  various  d e a l about the o r g a n i z a t i o n  The a f t e r n o o n s were v i s i t e d  understanding  during  The g r e a t e s t p o r t i o n were made  o f t h e newsroom w i t h o u t  of  19 -  w h i c h we  (about  adjacent  20) and t h e r e w r i t e  news, to the  desk.  o b s e r v e d were a l l w i t h i n a few p a c e s  o f one a n o t h e r , e a s i l y w i t h i n v i e w o r s p e a k i n g  distance  from  \  one  d e s k t o any o t h e r .  recognizable  This  grouping  "node" o r c i r c u l a t i o n  wise, a t f i r s t  glance,  looks  like  occupied  The  city  editor city  by d i f f e r e n t  desk i s o c c u p i e d  i n a room w h i c h  o f news work, t h e s e  people at d i f f e r e n t during  and two a s s i s t a n t s ; d u r i n g :  area  forms a other-  a c h a o t i c array o f desks.  Because o f the 2 4 hour n a t u r e are  o f desks  desks  hours o f the day.  most o f t h e day by t h e c i t y the' e v e n i n g  e d i t o r and u s u a l l y one a s s i s t a n t . ' D u r i n g  there  i s a:.night,  days, the r e w r i t e  -  desk i s s t a f f e d there  20 -  by one man a n d u s u a l l y  i s usually  f o u r women; a t n i g h t  one man a n d one woman.  t h e r e a r e anywhere f r o m desks;  the evenings  During  t h e time  During  t h e mornings  9 t o 14 g e n e r a l r e p o r t e r s a t t h e i r  are highly variable,  t h a t I was o b s e r v i n g ,  on  the general reporting s t a f f  at  the c i t y  ranging  from  I can r e c a l l  2 t o 10.  5 women  o f 27 a n d no women i n p o s i t i o n s  desk.  O r g a n i z a t i o n o f The R e s e a r c h I would!like relations  The  t o comment o n t h e o r g a n i z a t i o n o f w o r k i n g  i n the course  of this  f o u n d a t i o n and s e n s e  of direction  were p r o v i d e d by D o r o t h y S m i t h , discussed e a r l i e r is  During  chapter.  discuss the progress  ending  T h e o b s e r v a t i o n a l work w h i c h T h e r e were some  i n t h e l a t e r : months o f f i e l d  the p e r i o d of f i e l d  for theenterprise  i n p a r t b y t h e work w h i c h i s  r e p r e s e n t e d h e r e was done by me.  interviews  to  i n this  research.  joint  work.  o b s e r v a t i o n we met o n l y  o f t h e work.  twice  However, i m m e d i a t e l y  upon  t h e p e r i o d o f o b s e r v a t i o n i n t h e newsroom, we b e g a n t o  work r e g u l a r l y  together.  We began t o have w e e k l y ,  intensive  w o r k i n g s e s s i o n s t o b r i n g t o g e t h e r t h e t h e o r e t i c a l and methodological experience, work.  premises  f r o m w h i c h we b e g a n , t h e f i e l d  and t h e q u e s i t o n s  We worked w i t h  that arose  i n the course  t h e problems t h a t arose  both  work of the  as t h e y h a d  -  implications production,  f o r our and  working  It great  i n c r e a s i n g l y as  observation  i n sociology.  siderations  of  and  extent  produced  some o f  the  recent,  the  the  part of  presented here. as much as  and  has  dialogue  problem of  this  It w i l l  "we"  be  been p o s s i b l e by t o b e g i n my  own  work o f o t h e r  a dialogue.  clear that taking work.  talk  our of  conas  data.  w h i c h have t o in  a  this  development  of  Smith which  understanding of own  that  t h i n k i n g which i s  ways a j o i n t  i s p o s s i b l e between t e a c h e r  scholars  sociology  using  the  o f my  been i n v a r i o u s  and  I t i s i n regard to r e f e r  work,  student, for  in  this  portions-of  of " I " .  i n e s s e n t i a l ways t h i s work has  only  t h e work o f D o r o t h y S m i t h as  the  place  I have as w e l l made e x t e n s i v e  use  of  who  provide  w i t h i n w h i c h S m i t h ' s work b e l o n g s . doing  of  d e v e l o p m e n t o f my  instead  news to  time to  t h i n k i n g which i s present  I have f o u n d i t n e c e s s a r y  paper to  of  sessions  have been p a r t  I t has  p r o g r e s s e d as that  deal  u n p u b l i s h e d work o f D o r o t h y  the  that  processes of  they c o n t r i b u t e d  gave a g r e a t  r e f e r r e d to i n t h i s paper, p a r t  work, and  the  d e s c r i p t i o n as methods  i s these i n t e n s i v e working  These s e s s i o n s  in  We  l a n g u a g e and  paper.  is  -  understanding of  also  understanding of  21  the  community o f  However, t h e  scholarship  procedure  w h i c h I have b e e n i n t e r e s t e d i n l e a r n i n g  depend upon S m i t h ' s r a t h e r Thus S m i t h ' s work i s t h e  innovative  primary point  use of  of  these other  reference  the  for  does works.  f o r my  work.  -  22 -  The work o f d o i n g s o c i o l o g y  and t h e work o f d i s c o v e r i n g  how  t o do i t ' h a v e b e e n i n s e p a r a b l e i n t h i s  The  p r e s e n t paper w i l l  t i m e an e f f o r t for to  to learn  doing sociology, understand  In  explore  i s used  this;  and p a r t i c i p a t e  and an e f f o r t  the s o c i a l  what f o l l o w s ,  enquiry which  demonstrate  research enterprise.  i t i s a t t h e same i n developing a procedure  t o b e g i n t o u s e t h a t method  world.  Chapter  2 will  discuss  the procedure f o r  i n t h i s work and i t s o r g i n s ,  some a s p e c t s o f d e s c r i p t i v e method.  Chapter  i n t r o d u c e examples o f t h e t y p e o f a c c o u n t s which as an a l t e r n a t i v e  to description.  and w i l l 3 will  a r e recommended  -  23  -  CHAPTER  TWO  ON DESCRIPTIVE METHOD  I would  like  t h i s work w i l l establish  to introduce very b r i e f l y  p r o c e e d and t h e n d i s c u s s  the b a s i s  t h e way  i n which  t h e v a r i o u s works w h i c h  f o r t h i s procedure.  ^ The work with  i s most s t r o n g l y  c h a r a c t e r i z e d by  t h e forms i n w h i c h t h e w o r l d o r d i n a r i l y  beginning  appears to us, i n  t e r m s o f w h i c h i t i s known by u s , and w h i c h a p p e a r t o e x i s t as t h e forms by w h i c h t h e w o r l d i s o r g a n i z e d of our i n d i v i d u a l  activities.  independently  I t proceeds toward  developing  an a c c o u n t o f t h o s e f o r m s w h i c h shows, t o t h e c o n t r a r y , t h e y come a b o u t p r e c i s e l y It  i n the p r a c t i c a l  i s t h e work o f r e t u r n i n g  - power, a u t h o r i t y , - to the p r a c t i c a l  the standard  communications, activities  T h i s way  of people.  sociological  categories  i n which they are c o n s t i t u t e d ; the a c t i v i t i e s which  bring  i s named by t h e s e t e r m s .  of working i n sociology  of Dorothy Smith. "The I d e o l o g i c a l  activities  crime, mental i l l n e s s , e t c .  t o make o b s e r v a b l e a c t u a l p e o p l e d o i n g i n t o b e i n g what  how  It i s initially Practice  i s developedc  presented  of Sociology"  i n t h e work  i n a paper  (1974a) w h i c h  entitled,  i s both  - 24 -  a c r i t i q u e of s o c i o l o g y and the beginnings of a d i f f e r e n t method :  of working.  Smith begins t o s e t out a procedure  s o c i o l o g y which w i l l begin to make v i s i b l e how  f o r doing  i t comes about  t h a t i n our k i n d of s o c i e t y there i s the appearance of "acts and events without d o e r s f a c t s and i n f o r m a t i o n without knowers".  (Smith, 1974a:28)  She d e f i n e s t h e : e s s e n t i a l work of  s o c i o l o g y as t h a t of d e s c r i b i n g the s o c i a l process i n terms of the a c t i v i t i e s which b r i n g i t i n t o b e i n g .  She d i r e c t s us t o :  ...the p r a c t i c a l a c t i v i t i e s of a c t u a l l i v i n g i n d i v i d u a l s as the s o c i a l r e a l i t y w i t h which the s o c i a l s c i e n t i s t i s concerned... It is the p r a c t i c a l a c t i v i t y of a c t u a l l i v i n g i n d i v i d u a l s which both i s and produces the phenomena w i t h which the s o c i a l s c i e n t i s t i s concerned;...whatever becomes observable to the s o c i a l s c i e n t i s t ' , under whatever form of thought has no e x i s t e n c e other than as i t i s c o n s t i t u t e d by what men do. (Smith, 1974a:7)  Smith p o i n t s out, however, t h a t she i s "not recommending a simple r e t u r n to the experienced world v i a a r e t u r n to o b s e r v a t i o n a l procedures as a way  o f doing s o c i o l o g y " .  (Smith, 1974a:25)  On  the c o n t r a r y , she begins w i t h the understanding t h a t much of what determines  our everyday experience i s not a v a i l a b l e to us  w i t h i n the bounds of o r d i n a r y experience.  Rather, i t i s to be  found i n the processes of o r g a n i z a t i o n and a d m i n i s t r a t i o n which t r a n s f o r m the experiences of i n d i v i d u a l s i n t o forms i n which they can be known and managed from w i t h i n the b u r e a u c r a t i c mode of o r g a n i z a t i o n which i s c h a r a c t e r i s t i c of our s o c i e t y , and i n which the  'doers' and the  'knowers' disappear.  These mediating  processes are the focus of the k i n d of s o c i o l o g y S m i t h . i s  - 25 -  recommending. a practical  These p r o c e s s e s o f t r a n s f o r m i n g a r e themselves  activity  of real  people  though i n the o r d i n a r y r e l a t i o n they a r e rendered  invisible  T h u s , what S m i t h passing  through  i n actual  as a c o n d i t i o n  i s recommending, i s t h a t we i n s i s t o n  t o d i s c o v e r how t h a t a p p e a r a n c e  of peoples'  activities.  T h i s way o f w o r k i n g  briefly and  world,  t o what we s e e .  t h e forms i n w h i c h t h e w o r l d  made o f Marx.  o f work,  of observing the everyday  observable,  has  settings  arises  primarily  In t h e pages t h a t  i s ordinarily is itself  a product  o u t o f t h e use Smith  f o l l o w we w i l l  examine  some o f t h e a s p e c t s o f Marx w h i c h she h a s drawn on,  begin to i d e n t i f y  how S m i t h  has used  S m i t h ' s u s e o f Marx i s p r i m a r i l y b e g i n s w i t h what Marx and E n g e l s materialist  call  them t o do s o c i o l o g y .  f o c u s s e d on method. "the f i r s t  premises  She o f the  method":  The p r e m i s e s f r o m w h i c h we b e g i n a r e n o t a r b i t r a r y o n e s , n o t dogmas... t h e y a r e r e a l i n d i v i d u a l s , t h e i r a c t i v i t y , and t h e m a t e r i a l c o n d i t i o n s u n d e r w h i c h they l i v e , both those which they a l r e a d y f i n d e x i s t i n g , and t h o s e p r o d u c e d by t h e i r a c t i v i t y . ^ (Marx and E n g e l s , 1970:42)  I n t a k i n g up t h e m a t e r i a l i s t  method, S m i t h  i s f o c u s s i n g on an  a s p e c t o f Marx w h i c h h a s b e e n n e g l e c t e d among M a r x i s t s . t h e method w h i c h a r o s e  It is  f o r Marx i n t h e c o u r s e o f h i s work; i t  - 26 -  first  began t o t a k e shape 'in t h e German: I d e d l o g y , and t h e n  a fully  d e v e l o p e d method o f w o r k i n g  to define  the r e l a t i o n which  work and t h i s  i n Capital.  Smith  became  i s careful  i s t o be u n d e r s t o o d between h e r  method:  The method w h i c h we b e g a n t o work w i t h i s a method w h i c h i s d e r i v e d f r o m Marx's m e t h o d . [ I t ] c a n ' t be t r e a t e d as an e x p l i c a t i o n o f Marx; i t i s d e r i v e d f r o m h i s work, and:'is d e r i v e d f r o m h i s work as a b a s i s on w h i c h t o p r o c e d e f o l l o w i n g a method w h i c h he i n n o v a t e d , b u t n o t n e c e s s a r i l y s i m p l y r e p l i c a t i n g t h a t method; t h a t i s , i t i s aimed t o do t h e work o f s o c i o l o g y , r a t h e r t h a n p o l i t i c a l economy; i t i s aimed t o do t h e work o f s o c i o l o g y i n t h i s t i m e and n o t i n t h e 1 9 t h c e n t u r y ; and t h e r e f o r e no e f f o r t has b e e n made t o be f a i t h f u l t o Marx i n a p i o u s o r r e l i g i o u s s e n s e . ( S m i t h , 1977b)  In t h e p r e s e n t paper,  since our concern w i l l  p r i m a r i l y w i t h Marx, b u t w i t h S m i t h ' s heavily  on S m i t h ' s  be n o t  u s e o f Marx,. I w i l l  rely  work, and i n p a r t i c u l a r h e r r e c e n t , u n p u b l i s h e d  work.  Smith  b e g i n s w i t h Marx's v i e w  p o i n t s o u t t h a t Marx's u s e o f t h i s ordinary  sociological  use.  That  are not contexts, not s t a t i c i n t o which the term  organize persons  relations  term  relations.  i s , social  are inserted.  relations not a  c o n n e c t i o n s between p e r s o n s  t o one a n o t h e r . that  t o Marx  background  R a t h e r Marx  t o mean t h e a c t u a l p r a c t i c e s  i n relation  She  i s n o t t h e same as t h e  configurations,  peoples a c t i v i t i e s  social  of social  uses  which  They a r e t h e l i v e d  are constituted  in practical  -  activities.  27 -  Relations are practiced;  observable a c t i v i t y ,  their  practice  i s an  a p a r t o f how t h i n g s g e t done.  The way i n w h i c h Marx p r o c e e d s w i t h t h e u n d e r standing of s o c i a l relations i s r e a l l y quite different. S o c i a l r e l a t i o n s f o l l o w i n g Marx are the a c t u a l p r a c t i c a l a c t i v i t i e s of individuals. That i s , s o c i a l r e l a t i o n s a r e n o t a p a r t f r o m , n o t a means t o u n d e r s t a n d i n g s o c i a l action, not a context f o r s o c i a l action, but are indeed the a c t u a l a c t i v i t i e s ; the a c t u a l a c t i v i t i e s n o t u n d e r s t o o d as t h e a c t i v i t i e s o f i n d i v i d u a l s b u t understood i n terms o f r e l a t i o n s w h i c h t h e y b o t h o r g a n i z e and a r e o r g a n i z e d b y . ( S m i t h , 1977b)  According as  t o Smith,  Marx s e e s t h a t  l a b o u r , c a p i t a l , wages, c o m m o d i t i e s ,  relations, is,  they a r i s e  relation. process; are  though  exist  i n t h e performance  as such.  they are not o b j e c t i v e  such  etc., are social  (Marx, n.d.)  of a relation,  t h e y a r e n o t forms o f o r g a n i z a t i o n  That  a particular  f e a t u r e o f economic  i n t o which  people  features of the s o c i a l  The t e r m s name s o c i a l r e l a t i o n s w h i c h a r e p r o d u c e d , only i n the a c t u a l  they o n l y a r i s e temporal are.  phenomena  profit,  The t e r m s do n o t name a g e n e r a l i z e d  inserted;  world.  t h e y do n o t a p p e a r  social  activities  i n those a c t i v i t i e s  of real over  people.  time.  There  p r o c e s s i n w h i c h t h i n g s become r e a l i z e d  Smith  uses  t h e examples  f r o m Marx o f  And i n d e e d isa  as what  commodities:  I n Marx's v i e w , a commodity, ...as an a c t u a l p a r t i c u l a r e v e n t i s n o t r e a l i z e d as such, i s n o t y e t c o m p l e t e d a s a commodity by v i r t u e o f b e i n g p r o d u c e d f o r "a m a r k e t , by v i r t u e o f b e i n g s t o r e d i n a w a r e h o u s e ; i t becomes a  they  - 28 -  commodity i n t h e p r o c e s s o f e n t e r i n g i n t o m a r k e t e x c h a n g e , t h e exchange o f monies f o r c o m m o d i t i e s . I t i s not r e a l i z e d . . . o t h e r than i n t h i s process w h i c h i s d e s c r i b e d as s o c i a l r e l a t i o n s . This." i s how I have a t t e m p t e d t o u n d e r s t a n d t h a t t e r m . ( S m i t h , 1977a)  T h i s view of s o c i a l It  relations  a l l o w s him t o s e e t h a t  r e l a t i o n s between  things  f a c t r e l a t i o n s between labour, p r o f i t ,  economic  r e l a t i o n s w h i c h a p p e a r as  - money and c o m m o d i t i e s  people.  (Marx, n.d.)  t e r m s - wages, practice  a c t i v i t i e s which are the performance o f the r e l a t i o n s  named by  t h e r e have  In order  commodity  The  - are i n  i n the  these terms.  capital,  does a l o t o f work f o r Marx.  f o r e . g . c o m m o d i t i e s - t o come i n t o  t o be t h e s e p r a c t i c a l  constituted  and named by t h a t  relations  activities.  are  as r e l a t i o n s  among p e o p l e w h i c h a r e o r d e r e d i n term.  The  among t h i n g s  o r g a n i z a t i o n of peoples' a c t i v i t i e s  appearance of  is itself  of p o l i t i c a l  economy.  the  I will  economic  p r o d u c e d by  the  i n production.  T h i s u n d e r s t a n d i n g becomes t h e b a s i s  summarizes  Commodities  being,  as f e a t u r e s o f t h e e c o n o m i c p r o c e s s p r e c i s e l y i n  and by t h e a c t u a l p r a c t i c e s t h a t way  - originate  o f Marx's  quote a t l e n g t h  critique  from Smith,  critique:  The m e t h o d o l o g i c a l c r i t i q u e w h i c h Marx makes of p o l i t i c a l economy... b e g i n s f r o m terms t h a t a r e t a k e n as e s s e n t i a l p a r t s o f t h e e c o n o m i c p r o c e s s , e s s e n t i a l p a r t s o f the process which c o n s t i t u t e s social relations. T h a t i s t e r m s l i k e wages, commodities, c a p i t a l , p r o f i t , e t c . , e t c . a r e terms which are used i n the business o f g e t t i n g the i  who  -  29  -  economy done. And t h e y do n o t a r i s e o u t t h e t e c h n i c a l work o f p o l i t i c a l e c o n o m i s t s . They are the terms t h a t are p a r t o f the o r i g i n a l s o c i a l process. Hence t h e i r v e r y e x i s t e n c e as c a t e g o r i e s w h i c h a r e p o t e n t i a l l y p a r t o f a s c i e n t i f i c d i s c o u r s e ' i s an h i s t o r i c a l phenomenon. P o l i t i c a l economy b e g i n s w i t h t h e s e c a t e g o r i e s and c o n c e p t s . . . b u t i n l o s i n g s i g h t of the a c t u a l s o c i a l r e l a t i o n s i n which t h e phenomenon t h e y name a r i s e s , p o l i t i c a l e c o n o m i s t s come t o t r e a t t h e p a r t i c u l a r l o c a l c a t e g o r i e s o f c a p i t a l i s m as t h e f o r e v e r f e a t u r e s o f economic r e l a t i o n s . ...Thus t h e y u n d e r s t a n d t h e e c o n o m i c p r o c e s s as a r i s i n g f r o m t h e way i n w h i c h i t i s c o n c e p t u a l i z e d r a t h e r than b e g i n n i n g t o ground t h e i r c a t e g o r i e s and c o n c e p t s i n t h e a c t u a l i t i e s o f s o c i a l r e l a t i o n s of which those c a t e g o r i e s are o r i g i n a l l y a p a r t and w h i c h b r i n g them i n t o e x i s t e n c e as phenomenon...used by t h e p o l i t i c a l e c o n o m i s t s i n t h e d e v e l o p m e n t o f t h a t as a s c i e n t i f i c d i s c o u r s e . ( S m i t h , 1977a)  So we theorists  see t h a t  the p o l i t i c a l  i n a manner t h a t  economists  i s fundamentally  have p r o c e e d e d a t odds w i t h  Marx u n d e r s t a n d s  t h e phenomena t o be p u t t o g e t h e r .  t e r m s by  them o u t o f t h e s p e c i f i c  lifting  w h i c h t h e y depend, and that  apply throughout  categories practice  So  treating history.  political  economists  to  rediscover  use  relations  on  the  the  actual  relations.  the place t o begin i n v h i s from  They  I n t h i s way,  come t o o b s c u r e  i t i s t o the terms themselves  beginning  how  them as g e n e r a l i z e d c a t e g o r i e s (Marx, 1963)  o f economic a n a l y s i s  o f economic  social  as  own  t h a t Marx i s d i r e c t e d  method o f w o r k i n g .  t h e t e r m s w h i c h he  finds  He  as  proceeds  i n the d i s c o u r s e of  - wages, c o m m o d i t i e s ,  e t c . , - and  t h e a c t u a l p r a c t i c e s w h i c h t h e y name.  He  working takes  by  -  30 -  the terms and t r a c k s back t h r o u g h practical  activity  of getting  them t o t h e o r g a n i z e d  t h i n g s done i n w h i c h t h e  t e r m s a r o s e a n d i n w h i c h t h e i r meaning r e s i d e s . not the terms,  t h e n become t h e b a s i s o f h i s u n d e r s t a n d i n g o f  economic r e l a t i o n s ; the m a t e r i a l Engels,  y  The p r a c t i c e s ,  "...real  individuals,  their  a c t i v i t y , and  c o n d i t i o n s under which they l i v e . . . "  (Marx and  1970).  Smith  has c a l l e d  t h i s method o f p r o c e e d i n g one o f  "substructing".  That i s . . . y o u b e g i n from t h e terms... the c o n c e p t s o f (e.g.) p o l i t i c a l economy, a n d t h e n t h e s o c i a l s c i e n t i s t p r o c e e d s by a work o f r e t u r n i n g t o t h e a c t u a l s o c i a l r e l a t i o n s which generate those phenomena as t h e y a r e named, t h e a c t u a l p r a c t i c e s of r e a l l i v i n g i n d i v i d u a l s , which are the o n l y b a s i s f o r t h e e x i s t e n c e o f s o c i a l phenomena. ' ( S m i t h , 1977b)  Smith  h a s made u s e o f t h i s w h o l e c r i t i c a l  method o f work f r o m Marx a s t h e b a s i s sociology  enquiry.  Sociology"  1974a.)  have t a k e n  f o r her critique of  and r e c o m m e n d a t i o n s . f o r how t o p r o c e e d  with s o c i o l o g i c a l  proceeded  Smith,  by p r e c i s e l y  She a r g u e s  that  sociologists  have  t h e method w h i c h Marx i d e n t i f i e s .  terms which a r i s e  i n the s o c i a l  i n c o n c e p t u a l form.  ,In t h i s  They  p r o c e s s t o name them o u t i n t o a  d i s c o u r s e w h i c h i s engaged i n t r y i n g  s o c i a l world  differently  (See " I d e o l o g i c a l P r a c t i c e o f  v a r i o u s a s p e c t s o f e x p e r i e n c e , and l i f t e d scientific  p r o c e d u r e and  to represent the  use o f terms  they  -  become s e p a r a t e d people,  and  actors,  This  of  those p r a c t i c e s .  i s a l s o the The  critique  not  applies  many a s p e c t s o f work, as w e l l  as  of  the  our  a t t e n t i o n on  out  that  settings  equally  original, of  use.  to  Thus t h e  informs  real  i n d i v i d u a l subjects,  the  the  the basis  on  things the be He  alternative  this  critique  shall  of  of  language which i s  of  two  l a n g u a g e and  language t o r e p r e s e n t S m i t h makes t h i s  or  i s to  H i s work c l e a r l y  s e e n t o work q u i t e f o r us  It is  focus.  language.  locates  of  administrative  conversation.  a p a r t i c u l a r use  The  i t i s a feature  t h a t Marx's work does f o r us  use  on  sociological enterprise.  of ordinary  w h i c h we  work  for a.critique  f o r an  implications of  the  present  basis  t o d e s c r i p t i o n as  a feature  w o r k i n g use  describing.  p r a c t i c e s of  conceptualization-.and  a c a d e m i c , p r o f e s s i o n a l , and  terms can of  The  confined  d e s c r i p t i v e method as  One  a  procedure provides  common t o a l l t h e s e ,  use  method t h a t  doing accounts.  however, a r e  the  instead  s o c i o l o g i c a l d e s c r i p t i o n , and  method o f  i n the  disappear.  descriptions. of  -  grounding  come t o r e p r e s e n t  generalization the  from t h e i r  31  differently distinct  conceptualize,  observation  points  in different  settings:  a secondary,  focus  the  derivative  s u c h as  in  a b o u t h i s work:  Marx's method can be s e e n i n t h e f i r s t p l a c e as l o c a t i n g t h e terms i n two modes: f i r s t , so t h a t you c a n see t e r m s s u c h as wages, p r o f i t , commodites, etc., as p a r t o f t h e o r i g i n a l w o r k i n g p r a c t i c e s ,  doing  -  32  -  the working s o c i a l r e l a t i o n s i n which the phenomenon has i t s e x i s t e n c e and i n w h i c h i t s naming i s an a c t u a l p a r t o f t h a t a c t i v i t y , a p a r t of^ t h e work; and s e c o n d , a t t h e l e v e l where t h e i d e o l o g i s t o r t h e s o c i a l s c i e n t i s t s - w o r k s , where t h a t l a n g uage becomes i n c o r p o r a t e d i n t o t h e p r a c t i c e o f a d i s c o u r s e . ( S m i t h , 1977b)  These realms of as  a p r a c t i c a l matter:  they operate q u i t e working the is  organized  differently.  by  social  t e r m has  standing  This  (1953) o f the  their  m e a n i n g by  unlike  part  of  us  and  their  In the lifted are  meaning  second out  of  used  to  In  this  activities^,  t o an  notion  i n t o w h i c h i t i s woven"  tells  the  that  them.  understanding  found i n  i s , various  c h a r a c t e r i s t i c ways o f  in  and  naming  of p r a c t i c e s .  representing  the  l a n g u a g e games, t h a t  d i f f e r e n t contexts  essential  a part;  terms are  o f Marx's work p o i n t s  Wittgenstein in  science  i n f o r them, r e p l a c i n g  aspect  actions  own  f i r s t case,  have meaning by  that organization  language which i s not  and  In the  i n w h i c h t h e i r meaning a r i s e s , and  conceptually  usage, the  different enterprises,  a c t i o n which they express.  s e t t i n g of  that r e l a t i o n  actually different  p r a c t i c e s of which they are  embedded i n t h e  reflect  they are  s e t t i n g , terms o r i g i n a l l y  case, the  is  language usage are  of  Wittgenstein  forms o f  "language  (19 53:5e) w h i c h  have  proceeding.  t h a t words do therefore  "what" t h e y mean.  "how"  i n d e e d work  differently  words mean i s  That i s , the  an  setting  or  -  the  occasion  meaning.  f o r t h e u s e o f a word i s p a r t  He t h e n u s e s t h i s  method o f d i s c o v e r i n g for  philosophers  critical economy.  33 -  understanding  as t h e b a s i s  " t h e e s s e n c e " o f a word.  a method o f work w h i c h i s v e r y  p r o c e d u r e u s e d by Marx w i t h Wittgenstein c a l l s  t h e i r metaphysical to t h e i r I n v e s t i g a t i o n he  o f what g i v e s i t  He  for a  recommends  similar  to the  the terms o f p o l i t i c a l  i t " b r i n g i n g words b a c k f r o m everyday use".  In the P h i l o s o p h i c a l  writes:  When p h i l o s o p h e r s u s e a word, ' k n o w l e d g e , ' b e i n g ' , ' o b j e c t ' , ' I ' , ' p r o p o s i t i o n ' , 'name', and t r y t o g r a s p t h e e s s e n c e o f t h e t h i n g , one must a l w a y s a s k oneself: i s t h e word e v e r a c t u a l l y u s e d i n t h i s way i n t h e language-game w h i c h i s i t s o r i g i n a l home? ( W i t t g e n s t e i n , 1953:48e) 1  Smith a p p l i e s description. to  call  topic  this  What t h i s  attention  i n i t s own  approach to a c r i t i q u e does, again  t o t h e manner  like  of  sociological  t h e work o f Marx, i s  i n w h i c h words a r e -used, as a  r i g h t w h i c h needs e x a m i n i n g .  Smith  says:  I want t o t a k e up W i t t g e n s t e i n ' s r e c o m m e n d a t i o n f o r the s o c i o l o g i s t . . . I want t o l o o k a t d e s c r i p t i o n s as a l a n g u a g e game...as t h i n g s t h a t go on i n d e f i n i t e s e t t i n g s , t h a t have d e f i n i t e k i n d s o f methods o f g e t t i n g them done; t h a t i s , a d e f i n i t e u s e o f w o r d s , a d e f i n i t e way o f m e a n i n g . . . . I n d e s c r i p t i o n s , what we do i s p r o c e d e i n a way w h i c h c r e a t e s the kinds of problems that s o c i o l o g i s t s e x p e r i e n c e i n t h e u s e o f c a t e g o r i e s and, i n t h e u s e o f concepts. What we need t o do t o remedy t h i s i s t o b e g i n t o a s k , how t h e word i s a c t u a l l y u s e d i n t h e l a n g u a g e game w h i c h i s i t s o r i g i n a l home, and how do we b r i n g words b a c k f r o m t h e i r " m e t a p h y s i c a l t o t h e i r e v e r y d a y use". ( S m i t h , 1977b)  -  Thus t h e and  that  the  view t h a t  uses themselves are  description.  , By  the  modes o f  how  separate  the  two  will  I.  the  III.  How  basis the  characteristic  language use, begin  the  the  actuality  words t a k e  for a critique  and  i t claims  to d e s c r i b e .  to the  actuality  being  a  o f k n o w i n g as  part  of  upon t h e  understanding  In  this  determinate  described; organized  the c o n s t i t u t i o n  phenomenon; d e s c r i p t i v e use  o f terms i s dependent  o r i g i n a l working  dependence may  be  native procedure  utilized f o r doing  s e t t i n g , and  how  t o d e v e l o p an accounts.  that alter-  of  relation  r e l a t i o n between  d e s c r i p t i v e method o b s c u r e s t h e  the  of  the  for  use  their  features  exploring  t o have a b a s i s  d e s c r i p t i v e method g i v e s  relations of  p a r t o f how  k i n d of  explore:  character How  f o c u s s i n g on  modes, we  the  p a p e r we  II.  the  more t h a n one  d e s c r i p t i v e method m e d i a t e s t h e  a c c o u n t and  How  -  l a n g u a g e has  meaning, b e g i n s t o p r o v i d e  between t h e  34  the  - 35 -  I.  How t h e d e s c r i p t i v e to i t s s u b j e c t .  method g i v e s d e t e r m i n a t e  A general understanding of the features method i s p a r t  o f what i s b e g i n n i n g  to define  descriptive  systematically  While  the p r o p e r t i e s  i t i s not yet  of the  method, some a s p e c t s o f i t a r e b e c o m i n g  Smith p o i n t s  o u t one f e a t u r e  of descriptive  is  c h a r a c t e r i s t i c o f t h e method o f t r e a t i n g  in  particular.  they r e f e r e n c e description  of the descriptive  t o emerge o u t o f t h e o n g o i n g  r e s e a r c h which i s the source o f t h i s paper. possible  character  That i s , that the world;  we t e n d  method w h i c h  factual  descriptions  t o u s e t e r m s as t h o u g h  as t h o u g h we c o u l d  t o a r e a l world which l i e s  becomes v i s i b l e  visible.  pass through the  beyond.  This  first  as a method o f r e a d i n g .  One o f t h e c o n s t r a i n t s o f a d e s c r i p t i v e r e a d i n g , i s t h a t we t a k e t h e d e s c r i p t i o n t o be a d e s c r i p t i o n o f s o m e t h i n g , t h a t i s t h a t t h e r e i s an a c t u a l i t y , a n d . . . t h e method o f r e a d i n g t h a t we u s e i s t h a t we 'pass t h r o u g h ' t h e d e s c r i p t i o n t o an a c t u a l i t y on the o t h e r s i d e . So t h a t what we t e n d t o do when reading a factual description at least, i s to almost f o r g e t about the a c t u a l t e r m i n o l o g y , the kind of grammatical c o n s t r u c t i o n s and t h e r e l a t i o n s t h a t have b e e n s e t up f o r u s , t o t r e a t an a c t u a l i t y on t h e o t h e r s i d e o f i t a s i f i t were i n some s e n s e a v a i l a b l e t o us by v i r t u e o f t h e d e s c r i p t i o n . . . T h i s i s a method o f r e a d i n g , a v e r y d e f i n i t e p r a c t i c e o f r e a d i n g w h i c h we make u s e o f i n r e a d i n g f a c t u a l a c c o u n t s . ( S m i t h , 1977b)'  This  p a r t i c u l a r method, o f p a s s i n g side,  through a  description  to  an a c t u a l i t y on t h e o t h e r  i s not a universal  feature  of  how we make meaning w i t h w o r d s , b u t a d e f i n i t e p r a c t i c e o f  36  -  meaning w h i c h i s p a r t factual. this  o f what c o n s t i t u t e s  Smith p o i n t s  procedure  fictions;  on t h i s  description  we do n o t t r e a t  fictional  an a c t u a l i t y i n t h e same way.  a c c o u n t , on t h e o t h e r  character  some a c c o u n t s as  o u t f o r example, t h a t we do n o t u s e  i n reading  a c c o u n t s as r e f e r e n c i n g factual  -  hand, i s d e p e n d e n t f o r i t s  supposition;  has a r e f e r e n t  A  t h a t what i s named i n t h e  in actuality.  What happens i n t h i s p r o c e s s o f r e a d i n g  through i s that  a s p e c t s o f t h e method b e i n g  u s e d become t r a n s f e r r e d t o t h e  actuality  I t becomes i m p o s s i b l e  features  as i t s f e a t u r e s .  o f t h e a c t u a l i t y from f e a t u r e s  represent  i t .  S m i t h has c a l l e d  this  to d i s t i n g u i s h  o f t h e method u s e d t o  p r o c e s s one o f t r a n s -  ference .  We w i l l  focus  on one o u t s t a n d i n g  c h a r a c t e r i s t i c that i s  t r a n s f e r r e d b y t h e d e s c r i p t i v e method, w h i c h i s t h e s e n s e what l i e s  beyond t h e d e s c r i p t i o n i s a "thing".'  method t e n d s t o o b j e c t i f y - t o make o b j e c t s features at a l l ,  i s , the  various  o f the s o c i a l ^ p r o c e s s which a r e not o r i g i n a l l y but rather  activities  The  of -  That  have t h e i r  existence  only  that  objects  i n the:practical  of individuals.  f o r e m o s t example o f t h i s  been e x p l o r i n g  i s the notion  o b j e c t i f i c a t i o n w h i c h we  o f news i t s e l f .  have  News i s g e n e r a l l y  assumed t o be s o m e - t h i n g w h i c h happens i n t h e s o c i a l  world,  - 37 -  and an  i s then r e p o r t e d inherent  i n a newspaper.  q u a l i t y of  New-ness  i s assumed t o  c e r t a i n e v e n t s which can  t h o s e who  know how  to recognize  available  to observation;  i t .  i t can  be  be  found  News i s t h o u g h t t o f o u n d by  looking  by be  for i t .  " N e w s g a t h e r i n g " i s a commonly u s e d t e r m w h i c h i l l u s t r a t e s this  character  like  mushrooms.  It ogists  o f news i s assumed; t h a t news c a n  i s i n t e r e s t i n g to observe t h a t a l i k e seem t o  e x a c t l y what t h i s  find  something c a l l e d  write or  difficult  a b o u t t h e i r work,  "news s e n s e " o r  "the  method w h i c h t h e y u s e . that  reporter  quite  serious  (Fieldnotes,  s a i d t o be  stated  about t h i s .  be  "I'm  I think  to  explain  talk  not I can  for/inews"  "nose  to i d e n t i f y an  communicated o r with  or  i t than  the  ability taught.  others.  s u r e what news i s ;  I'm  recognize i t . "  n.d.)  to n o t i c e  t r o u b l e w i t h what hews i s i n t h e i t and  flowing"  more g i f t e d  i t simply:  What i s i m p o r t a n t  find  sociol-  they f i n d i t  news i s s a i d t o be  evades d e s c r i p t i o n ; i t c a n ' t  Some p e o p l e a r e One  phrases l i k e  juices start Finding  E v e n how  When r e p o r t e r s  t h e y use  -  j o u r n a l i s t s and  news a c t u a l l y i s , e x c e p t  i t .  to e x p l a i n .  that  gathered  i t extraordinarily difficult  t h a t t h e y know i t when t h e y f i n d seems t o be  be  be  report  i t .  depends upon r e p o r t e r s  The  i s t h a t newsmen d o n ' t working context.  newspaper as  They r o u t i n e l y  a business  producing a consistent  have  supply  enterprise o f news  - 38 -  stories,  a t dependable times each day.  news i s c l e a r l y n o t  The d i f f i c u l t y  As a w o r k i n g  practice,  evasive.  i n d e f i n i n g what news i s a r i s e s i n t h e  u s e o f "news" a s a t e r m i n a d e s c r i p t i v e c o n t e x t , w h e r e i t i s t r e a t e d a s i f i t w e r e p o s s i b l e t o p a s s t h r o u g h i t t o an o b j e c t i n t h e w o r l d which conforms t o t h a t d e s c r i p t i o n . . is  The p r o b l e m  t h a t t h e r e f e r e n c i n g p r o c e d u r e doesn't work; y o u c a n ' t  find  news i n t h e w o r l d a s a n o b j e c t w h i c h c o n f o r m s t o t h e d e s c r i p t i o n s t h a t j o u r n a l i s t s a n d s o c i o l o g i s t s make o f i t . you c a n ' t f i n d i t i s because is  The r e a s o n t h a t  t h e way i n w h i c h news i s d e s c r i b e d  f u n d a m e n t a l l y a t odds w i t h how t h e a c t u a l i t y  i sput together.  T h i s i s c l e a r i f we l o o k b a c k , t o t h e w o r k i n g p r a c t i c e s o f t h e newsroom t o u n d e r s t a n d t h e t e r m a s i t a r i s e s  there.  T h a t news i n a w o r k i n g c o n t e x t c a n be d e f i n e d o n l y as an a c t u a l o n g o i n g r e l a t i o n between t h e work o f t h e r e p o r t e r and t h e e d i t o r , and e t c . I t i s a term t h a t i s p a r t o f t h e work, t h a t does t h e work, t h a t i s u s e d i n t a l k i n g a b o u t t h e work; and i n t h o s e c o n t e x t s . . . i t i s n o t u s e d a t a l l as i t i s u s e d t o d e s c r i b e , when y o u a r e d o i n g t h e work o f d e s c r i p t i o n . Immediately i n the d e s c r i p t i v e c o n t e x t , q u i t e d i f f e r e n t t h i n g s a r e done w i t h t h a t t e r m . I t i s t r e a t e d as i f i t names s o m e t h i n g t h a t we c a n f i n d v e r y much as we m i g h t walk through t h e f i e l d s l o o k i n g f o r a p a r t i c u l a r species of b u t t e r f l y . We t a k e t h e c h a r a c t e r o f t h e d e s c r i p t i v e work and we s u p p l y t h a t t o t h e o r i g i n a l we c o n s t i t u t e t h e o r i g i n a l ; i n t h e shape g i v e n i t by t h e method o f d e s c r i p t i o n . . . Though y o u c a n f i n d t h e t e r m , y o u c a n ' t f i n d t h e phenomenon t h a t c o r r e s p o n d s t o i t . ( S m i t h , 1977b)  -  39  -  Here i s a v e r y common and v i s i b l e example o f t h e method a t work. out of was  of the organized p r a c t i c a l news s t o r i e s and i s t r e a t e d a feature  activities  "news",  giving  place  is  The o r g a n i z e d  i s r a t h e r an o b j e c t w h i c h r e s i d e s  not o r i g i n a l l y  practice  practical  f o r g r a n t e d , and what i s  i t i s not s o c i a l l y  This  Thus  a term which  a t a l l , but a working  relation.  produced  i n the s o c i a l world.  method does i s t o o b j e c t i f y  an o b j e c t  of s o c i a l  which  i s the product of those a c t i v i t i e s ,  i t the appearance t h a t  what t h e d e s c r i p t i v e  is lifted  as i f i t named an o b j e c t  of the s o c i a l world.  i n their  "news"  a c t i v i t i e s o f the production  o f news p r o d u c t i o n a r e t a k e n  substituted  but  What h a p p e n s i s t h a t t h e t e r m  descriptive  term i n the  i s what Marx o r i g i n a l l y  showed  us.  Our of  experience  examples o f t h i s  significant  i n t h e newsroom p r o v i d e d us w i t h descriptive  to describe,  about t h e i r exactly  number  I t was  and o u r r e l a t i o n  work was,,  this  t o the s e t t i n g  i n fact,  as o b s e r v e r s whose  t o i n f o r m a n t s who  the d e s c r i p t i v e  method w h i c h c r e a t e d  told  method.  t h e p r o b l e m s we  intent us I t was  experienced,  o v e r and o v e r , o f b e i n g u n a b l e t o f i n d  t h e phenomena  knew by t h e i r  b e c a u s e t h e way we  description.  f u n c t i o n i n g was our  a  p r o b l e m f o r us s p e c i f i c a l l y b e c a u s e t h e method w h i c h  organized our r e l a t i o n was  mechanism a t work.  a  e n q u i r y were  essentially  And i t was  a t odds w i t h how  constituted.  which  we were  the objects of  - 40 -  Here i s an  excerpt  f r o m my  working  notes:  T h e r e i s t h i s moment when what we a r e l o o k i n g a t , o r l o o k i n g f o r , seems t o t a l l y e v a s i v e o r i n v i s i b l e . A f t e r a few d a y s a t t h e c i t y d e s k , I s a t down and w r o t e a n o t e t o m y s e l f t h a t I had l o o k e d a l l o v e r f o r a s s i g n m e n t s and c o u l d n ' t f i n d them anywhere! S i m i l a r l y , D o r o t h y d i d . i t ; s p e a k i n g o f a s t o r y she was t r y i n g t o f i n d t h e o r i g i n s o f , she s a i d , " I t ' s r e a l l y i n c r e d i b l e ; I ask m y s e l f what h a p p e n e d , and n o t h i n g happened, r e a l l y . It's just this pulling together..." T h e s e a r e t h e moments o f s e e i n g t h a t terms l i k e " s t o r y " o r "assignment" which c l a i m t o d e s c r i b e s o m e t h i n g more o r l e s s t a n g i b l e , a r e r a t h e r the d e s c r i p t i o n s of something l i k e a s o c i a l form...a s o c i a l r e l a t i o n , o r o r g a n i z a t i o n o f p r a c t i c e s which g i v e s form to something.... We want t o c o n n e c t up t h o s e p r a c t i c e s l i k e an o r c h e s t r a t i o n ; s e e i n g t h e o r c h e s t r a t i o n is_ s e e i n g t h o s e t e r m s g e t t i n g done. It is just a m a t t e r o f b e i n g a b l e t o show how t h a t w o r k s .  We we  began t o work on  couldn't  and  the  object  find  notion of  What we  the  the  things,  that  the  like  the  works d i d b e g i n t o a c c o u n t things.  In the  case of  terms t o r e p r e s e n t conventional,  an  t h e n we  news o r  between o u r  gap, or see  this  that  f o r our  that  an  description  s e n s e t h a t we  assignments or  stories,  couldn't i f . we  o b j e c t i v e phenomenon, as w o u l d were s e n t  O n l y we  stories,  l a n g u a g e makes  u n d e r s t a n d i n g o f how  o f f on  noticed  moment i n w h i c h we  "they are  of  that  o f p r a c t i c e s i n w h i c h words a r i s e .  a search:  a s s i g n m e n t s come from; what i s a s t o r y , those questions.  sense  assignments or  d e s c r i p t i v e use  organization  f o u n d was t h a t  relation  saw  nowhere t o be  these s o - c a l l e d objects  that that  etc.  We  there  was  "nothing  found".  took  the  be  where  do  did start  with  this  of  kind  happened,  From t h i s we  were r a t h e r  find  organized  really,"  began  to  relations.  -  What a l s o began  t o be c l e a r f o r us i s how  t o u s e words w h i c h have represent (e.g.  they are provided  III  began  i n using  features organized needed  had  t o s e e t h a t we  learned socially  to use.  of p r a c t i c e s ;  the term.  had t o l o o k  you  (See  Section  differently for  w h i c h were r e p r e s e n t e d We  organized  of the s o c i a l w o r l d .  began  t o see t h a t  phenomenon, n o t So i t was  by t h e  the terms  objective  to the  socially  p r a c t i c e s i n w h i c h t h e y were c o n s t i t u t e d t h a t  to turn,  and t h a t  among t h o s e s o c i a l l y  organized  we practices  t h e work o f d e s c r i p t i o n w h i c h p r o d u c e d t h e a p p e a r a n c e o f  objects.  So t h a t we  the organized  had t o l o c a t e  two  aspects:  r e l a t i o n o f knowing  i n which  were c o n s t i t u t e d as e x t e r n a l  objects  t o the p r a c t i c e s  by  w h i c h t h e y were made known, e,g. t h e d e s c r i p t i v e method. II b)  one  t o u s e them b e c a u s e  f o r by an o r g a n i z a t i o n  a s p e c t s o f news p r o d u c t i o n  represented  a)  It i s possible  a social  below.)  t e r m s we  was  i t i s possible  "mushy" b a s e , w h i c h do n o t  upon t h a t o r g a n i z a t i o n  So we the  this  an o b j e c t i v e phenomenon, b u t r a t h e r  commodity, news).  depend  41 -  This  i s the problem d i s c u s s e d  i n Section  below.  the organized consitute  p r a c t i c e s o f news p r o d u c t i o n  e.g. s t o r i e s ,  assignments or sources of  news as s o m e t h i n g w h i c h c o u l d t h a t way.  This problem w i l l  Chapter Three.  which  be  said  o r named i n  be a d d r e s s e d i n  42  -  II.  How t h e d e s c r i p t i v e method o b s c u r e s t h e o r g a n i z e d r e l a t i o n o f knowing as p a r t o f how t h e o b j e c t i s c o n s t i t u t e d . What S m i t h shows us  ideologically; that  that  e x c l u d e s the  practices  of  constituted.  in  which the  to  the  practices  on  t h i s way  the  object object  phenomenon i n a  part  of  Conventional description  object  of  description  the  description itself  as  The  the  way  sets  observer of  up  an  organization  wholly is  external  excluded  knowing i s  It constitutes  appearance of  the  the-phenomenon  ruptured.  interpretive practice  i t s features.  which i s given  how  a p p e a r s as  relation  i s an  works  which i t depends, i n c l u d i n g  work o f m a k i n g i t known.  In  conventional description  i s , i t r e p r e s e n t s the  from i t s c o n s t i t u t i o n ;  natural  i s that  d e s c r i p t i o n which are  is  an  -  imposed in  on  description  existing in  the  world.  The r e p r e s e n t a t i o n o f t h e o b j e c t o f o u r d e s c r i p t i v e work as o u t t h e r e and i n d e p e n d e n t o f o u r r e l a t i o n i s a p r o d u c t o f t h e work o f d e s c r i p t i o n i t s e l f . . . . I n s o c i o l o g i c a l d e s c r i p t i o n , you a r e e n j o i n e d t o w r i t e a d e s c r i p t i o n which a t t r i b u t e s to that o c c a s i o n or t h a t sequence of e v e n t s the s t a t u s o f 'what a c t u a l l y h a p p e n e d ' as q u i t e o u t s i d e the l e a r n i n g o f t h e s e n s e t h a t was made. The active p a r t you p l a y e d i n c o n s t i t u t i n g t h o s e e v e n t s as what t h e y were d i s a p p e a r s . . . To g r a s p what a c t u a l l y happened i n o r d e r t o d e s c r i b e , you must p a r t i c i p a t e i n a c c o m p l i s h i n g what a c t u a l l y h a p p e n e d , and a t t h e same t i m e you must aim a t a d e s c r i p t i o n w h i c h s u s p e n d s y o u r p r e s e n c e and t h e a c c o m p l i s h m e n t w h i c h has b e e n e s s e n t i a l t o t h e e x i s t e n c e f o r y o u o f what i s t o be d e s c r i b e d . ( S m i t h , 1976b:5-6,8)  We  see  then, a problem which i s not  done p o o r l y  or  We  there  are  see  that  that  i t i s biased,  that  distorted,  description interested,  i s a problem w i t h d e s c r i p t i v e  normally practiced  in sociology  and  is or  conventions  elsewhere that  etc. which  factual  -  accounts the  a r e produced.  source  43 -  The methods t h a t a r e u s e d  o f some o f t h e p r o b l e m s we  experience.  What we n e e d , a c c o r d i n g t o S m i t h , in  d e s c r i p t i o n which i d e n t i f i e s  description  a r e themselves  i s a method o f p r o c e e d i n g  t h e work and s e t t i n g o f  a s p a r t o f t h e method.  ...A way o f p r o c e e d i n g w h i c h i n c o r p o r a t e s t h e p o s i t i o n o f t h e o b s e r v e r i n t o t h e work o f o b s e r v a t i o n i n a s y s t e m a t i c way, n o t a s a p a r t i c u l a r s u b j e c t i v i t y , b u t i n t e r m s o f s e e i n g t h e method o f d e s c r i p t i o n as c r e a t i n g a d e f i n i t e k i n d o f r e l a t i o n s h i p between t h e s o c i o l o g i s t and t h e s e t t i n g s h e i s o b s e r v i n g , such t h a t a p a r t i c u l a r k i n d o f l a n g u a g e game becomes i n v o l v e d w h i c h i s t h e n t r e a t e d as a f e a t u r e o f what i s o b s e r v e d . . . ( S m i t h , 1 9 7 7 : i n conversation)  What s u c h  a procedure  description  w o u l d do i s b e g i n  a s an o r g a n i z e d  social  relation.  the d o i n g o f t h e d e s c r i p t i o n back i n t o as t h e p r a c t i c e  of that  i n beginning  of  t o see t h a t r e l a t i o n  I examined my f i e l d  i t .  the account  i n my f i e l d  was o n l y a p u z z l i n g e x p e r i e n c e until  insert  itself  notes  work w h i c h was v e r y  i n practice.  t o me i n t h e f i e l d ;  When I began t o work w i t h  the data  use-  Actually i t i t was n o t  t h a t I was a b l e t o make  I t h a s t o do w i t h d o i n g o f d e s c r i p t i o n  immediately  I t would  relation.  T h e r e i s an e x p e r i e n c e ful  to reestablish  sense  by i n f o r m a n t s .  f r o m my f i e l d  notes, I  saw t h a t a l o t o f i t c o n s i s t e d o f o t h e r p e o p l e ' s  talk,  -  in  one f o r m o r a n o t h e r :  44 -  What p e o p l e  newsroom, i n i n t e r v i e w s , o v e r h e a r d 'concern  was how t o t r e a t  When I f o c u s s e d was  more t h a n  that talk  carefully  The people  first  overhearing observations  My  first  about t h e s e t t i n g .  I began t o s e e t h a t  that people's  there  t a l k was n o t  I began t o r e f e r  "orders o f t a l k " .  t othe  Two i n  focus.  o r d e r o r mode o f t a l k  i n t h e newsroom t a l k  t h e i r work.  t o me i n t h e  etc...  as d a t a  i n t h e same way.  d i f f e r e n t modes a s d i f f e r e n t p a r t i c u l a r became my  talk,  on t h e t a l k ,  one k i n d o f t a l k ;  always p u t t o g e t h e r  had s a i d  This i s talk  i s t h e manner i n w h i c h  t o each o t h e r  i n the course o f  t h a t was o n l y a v a i l a b l e  and r e c o r d i n g i t , u s u a l l y a l o n g w i t h to provide a setting  f o rthe t a l k .  t o me by a few v i s u a l F o r example:  The c i t y e d i t o r l o o k s up f r o m a c o p y o f an e a r l y e d i t i o n w h i c h he i s r e a d i n g a n d s a y s t o an a s s i s t a n t "I d o n ' t s e e a f o l l o w i n t h i s s p e e c h ; i t ' s t o o v a g u e . What do y o u t h i n k ? I g u e s s we m i g h t c a l l t h e o l d p e o p l e s ' a s s o c i a t i o n and s e e what t h e y t h i n k . " ( F i e l d n o t e s o f 17 M a r c h , p g . 5) A r e p o r t e r comes t o t h e c i t y d e s k a s k i n g i f t h e e d i t o r has n o t i c e d t h e " t h r e a t e n e d d e m o n s t r a t i o n " c o m i n g up i n C h i l l i w a c k tomorrow. He s a y s , "Do y o u t h i n k we c o u l d have a p h o t o g r a p h e r o u t t h e r e a n d g e t a n y t h i n g back i n time t o p r i n t ? " The e d i t o r c o n s i d e r s , s a y y e s , and makes a phone c a l l t o l i n e up a p h o t o g r a p h e r . ( F i e l d n o t e s o f 7 M a r c h , p g . 6)  The in  s e c o n d mode o f t a l k  t h e newsroom t o t e l l  work t h a t t h e y in  response  i s t h e one t h a t i s u s e d by p e o p l e  an o b s e r v e r ,  are doing.  to questions,  such  as m y s e l f ,  I t i s the kind of talk  about t h e  t h a t happens  i n an i n t e r v i e w s i t u a t i o n ,  o r might  be  volunteered  is  talk that  as  45  -  explantion  of  some a s p e c t  is specifically  work f o r o t h e r s . made t o  -  For  designed  example, t h e  of  the  work.  t o make s e n s e o f  following  It  the  s t a t e m e n t s were  me:  I t h i n k what 'spot news' i s , i s human i n t e r e s t and t h a t i s a v e r y t a t t e r e d / o l d p h r a s e , b u t - a good s o r t o f human i n t e r e s t s t o r y , o r a p e o p l e s t o r y , t h a t o t h e r p e o p l e l i k e t o r e a d a b o u t and can r e l a t e w i t h . ( F i e l d n o t e s o f 12 J u l y , pg. 9) News i s a l l t h i n g s t o a l l p e o p l e . What i n t e r e s t s you d o e s n ' t n e c e s s a r i l y i n t e r e s t someone e l s e . Q u i t e a p a r t from the s p e c i a l t i e s i n the paper... t h e r e a r e p e o p l e who l i k e t h e S p o r t s p a g e s , and p e o p l e who l i k e t h e F i n a n c e p a g e s and l i k e t h e f a m i l y p a g e s , b u t i t s h a r d t o z e r o i n on t h e newsp a p e r and t e l l you what's news. I t ' s h a r d f o r me t o answer t h a t . . . I t h i n k t h a t i n a n u t s h e l l , what we a r e t a l k i n g a b o u t when we t a l k a b o u t "what's news" [ i s ] 'what's news' t o t h e g r e a t e s t number o f p e o p l e . . . Y o u s e e , we're i n t h e f i e l d o f t r y i n g t o s e r v e two h u n d r e d and f i f t y t h o u s a n d s u b s c r i b e r s . . . ( F i e l d n o t e s o f 12 J u l y , pg. 10-11) ...a r e a l l y good w e l l - t r a i n e d r e p o r t e r , one who i s k e e p i n g h i s e y e s and e a r s open i s t h e one t h a t p i c k s o u t t h e b e s t s t o r y . ( F i e l d n o t e s 12 J u l y , pg. 9)  What i s i n t e r e s t i n g " a b o u t comparing in  part  them s u g g e s t s  d e t e r m i n e d by  work i t was how  the  t a l k was  the  t a l k was  put  i n the  the  occasion  i n various  together  performing.  between p e o p l e  t h a t how  the  meant t o do  t h e s e two  That  was  of  kinds  t a l k was that  of put  talk is together  t a l k , the  situations.  One  newsroom, t a l k was  m e a n i n g between p e o p l e whose t e r m s o f  working organized  reference  kind  was of  might  determined b y the  i s , i n the  that  say,  relation  relation to  exchange  were t h e  same;  - 46 -  their  talk  depended  for  i t s s e n s e on  o f w h i c h t h e y were a p a r t . however, p e o p l e descriptive kind for  of  i n the  relation;  talk  tried  tell  talk  immediately on  clear  paper that  relation  me  relations  to  talk  me  to  as  the  working  informants,  perform  a b o u t t h e i r work.  "make s e n s e " o f  someone l i k e m y s e l f who  I t was  their  working  newsroom o r g a n i z e d to  to  In  the  This relations  d i d n ' t a l r e a d y know t h e i r  sense.  t o mewhenl examined t h e s e k i n d s  t h e y were q u i t e  a  d i f f e r e n t methods o f  of making  meaning w i t h w o r d s .  I t was kind  of  also  talk,  sociologists that  we  f o r me  was  kind  and  the  of  descriptive  to  talk  kind of How  When we we  see  an  We  see  that of  after  produced. account  that  t a l k was  the  kind  talk  did  we  What t h e n became  for this  took p l a c e that get  we  the  knew how  f r o m one  illustration we  are  that  two  language i n d i f f e r e n t f o r the  in  The  newsroom.  second we  was  to  to  use  the  as  the  kind  problematic  work s e t t i n g to  we  between observed,  represent  that  other?  o f what W i t t g e n s t e i n was  observing  the  striking difference  c o n s i d e r t h i s problem i n the l i g h t  purposes accounts the  some r e f l e c t i o n t h a t  were a c c u s t o m e d t o w o r k i n g w i t h , and  how  setting.  use  the  ordinarily  the  The  clear  of  S m i t h ' s work,  talking  about.  d i s t i n c t l a n g u a g e games. settings  differences  and. f o r  in talk  experience begins  to  that  different I  illustrate  experienced how  the  -  o c c a s i o n of the account incorporated through  into  t h e use  aspect of the  and  47  the p a r t i e s  a descriptive  of language.  social  -  account  Thus we  t o t h a t o c c a s i o n become i n a systematic  began t o r e c o v e r  r e l a t i o n s which are concealed  way one  i n the  description.  What we  also  of a d e s c r i p t i v e That and  see  i s that  account  that  i t i s fundamental i t arises  i s , knowing i s n e c e s s a r i l y the o b j e c t o f knowledge.  to the  in a social  relation.  a r e l a t i o n b e t w e e n t h e knower  Y e t we  depend upon and  conventions  r e q u i r e a form o f a c c o u n t i n g which d e n i e s  essentially  s o c i a l b a s i s o f knowing.  We  w h i c h r e p r e s e n t s o b j e c t s as e x i s t i n g p r a c t i c e s which b r i n g  possibility  this  d e p e n d upon a method  independently of  them i n t o b e i n g  our  the  f o r us.  I t i s t h e p r o b l e m o f t h e anomaly between how i t i s t h a t y o u must go a b o u t d o i n g t h e work o f o b s e r v a t i o n i n o r d e r t o p r e p a r e an o b j e c t i v e s o c i o l o g i c a l o r a n t h r o p o l o g i c a l a c c o u n t and how i t i s t h a t y o u c a n i n f a c t know what i s g o i n g on;,: f o r t o know what i s g o i n g on s o c i o l o g i c a l l y i s a l s o t o have become a p a r t i c i p a n t i n making i t s sense. F o r y o u must a l r e a d y be p a r t o f i t i n some s e n s e t o know what i t i s and what i s happening. You must see i t f r o m t h e i n s i d e . You must have an i n s i d e r ' s u n d e r s t a n d i n g and an i n s i d e r ' s u n d e r s t a n d i n g d i v o r c e s us f o r e v e r , f r o m t h e f o r m o f knowledge w h i c h r e p r e s e n t s i t s o b j e c t as e x i s t i n g i n d e p e n d e n t l y o f t h e knower. ( S m i t h , 1976:5)  We accounts  find  ourselves faced with  a r e by  their  very nature  the problem inadequate  p r e c i s e l y what needs t o be made e x p l i c i t . over  r a t h e r t h a n making v i s i b l e  the  that  descriptive  because they  That  "practical  i s , they activity  conceal gloss  of  actual  - 48 -  living  i n d i v i d u a l s w h i c h b o t h i s and p r o d u c e s t h e phenomenon  w i t h which the s o c i a l s c i e n t i s t Thus c o n v e n t i o n a l d e s c r i p t i o n s  i s concerned.  We  method o f a c c o u n t i n g w h i c h e x p l i c a t e s  of  1974a:7)  c a n n o t p e r f o r m f o r us t h e  s o c i o l o g i c a l work w h i c h we r e q u i r e .  practices  (Smith,  need an  rather  alternative  than g l o s s e s the  i n w h i c h phenomena a r e c o n s t i t u t e d .  We  need a method  explication.  What w o u l d an e x p l i c a t i v e  account  look  like?  would not look  like  conventional description.  the  that  the object  assumption  of description  Clearly i t  This arises  i s because and i s  known i n a s o c i a l r e l a t i o n , o f w h i c h t h e work o f o b s e r v a t i o n and  description  are a part,  approach t o d e s c r i p t i o n is  o b j e c t i f i e d and  The the  that  the object  arises  the  of those r e l a t i o n s .  of  to findthe  with  and i s known i n a s o c i a l  i s a party.  structure,  the  description  on t h e o t h e r hand, b e g i n s  recover that  account of the object  of  the conventional  externalized.  t o which the observer  practice  precludes  i n which the o b j e c t  method o f e x p l i c a t i o n  assumption  relation  necessarily  I t sets  out to  phenomenon as i t a r i s e s i n And i t s g o a l  w h i c h i s o r g a n i z e d by t h a t  method i s one w h i c h i n c o r p o r a t e s  i s t o p r o d u c e an structure.  systematically  t h e o b s e r v e r i n t h e a c c o u n t o f t h e phenomenon.  Thus  the p o s i t i o n  - 49 -  Therefore  t h e work s h o u l d be q u i t e  conventional description. should  reflect  their  Objects i n this  s u c h a way  that  kind  from  of account  s o c i a l l y a c c o m p l i s h e d c h a r a c t e r , and  t h e r e a d e r s h o u l d be l o c a t e d in  different  i n relation  t o t h e phenomenon  t h e method o f a s s e m b l i n g  t h e phenomenon  as what i t i s , i s p r e s e n t t o h e r i n t h e r e a d i n g o f t h e account.  Thus a n e x p l i c a t i v e original  phenomenon.  account  i s one w h i c h r e p l i c a t e s t h e  I t i s an a c c o u n t w h i c h w o r k s i n t h e same  way as -the phenomenon i n t h e o r i g i n a l  setting  i n jwhich i t a r i s e s .  T h i s does n o t mean an a c c o u n t w h i c h m e r e l y makes t h e argument t h a t a g i v e n phenomenon a r i s e s account which a l s o a c t u a l l y  as a s o c i a l  shows how  that  relation,  b u t an  i s done as a p r a c t i c e .  - 50 -  III.  How t h e d e s c r i p t i v e use o f terms i s d e p e n d e n t upon t h e o r i g i n a l w o r k i n g s e t t i n g , and how t h a t d e p e n d e n c e may be u t i l i z e d t o d e v e l o p an a l t e r n a t i v e p r o c e d u r e f o r doing accounts. The  possibility  o f an e x p l i c a t i v e a c c o u n t  i s derived  t h e r e l a t i o n w h i c h Marx showed us between t e r m s and practices  i n which they a r i s e .  amentally  historical.  the d i s c o u r s e from  That  i s , that  Terms do n o t t a k e  i n which they a r e used;  organization  Smith  puts  on w h i c h words  i t this  they are  they  take  their  perform.  working fund-  t h e i r meaning  t h e s o c i a l p r o c e s s w h i c h t h e y name and  a social  the  from  from meaning There  is  depend.  way:  ...we t a k e f o r g r a n t e d t h a t t h e phenomenon does n o t a r i s e i n d e p e n d e n t l y o f t h e words t h a t a r e p a r t o f i t s p e r f o r m a n c e , b u t t h a t i t s naming i s i n t e g r a l to the s o c i a l r e l a t i o n s i t constructs, the s o c i a l practices, ordinary routines. I t i s not that there i s a t e r m w h i c h names a phenomenon i n d e p e n d e n t l y o f i t , . . . b u t t h a t t h e t e r m s , t h e words u s e d , a r e e s s e n t i a l l y p e r f o r m a t i v e ; that i s , they are e s s e n t i a l l y p a r t o f the a c t i v i t y which i s the s o c i a l r e l a t i o n s , they are p a r t of t h a t o r g a n i z a t i o n and n o t s e p a r a t e f r o m i t . ( S m i t h , 1977b)  So we  begin w i t h the understanding  organization  w h i c h can be  organized p r a c t i c a l  explicated,  activity  that  and  there i s a  that  i t i s this  which i s the s o c i a l  which the s o c i o l o g i s t i s concerned.  I t i s an  explicates  activities  these organized p r a c t i c a l  social  process  account that  with  which Smith  recommends as an a l t e r n a t i v e t o c o n v e n t i o n a l d e s c r i p t i o n .  -  The that  51  -  e x p l i c a t i v e method, t h e n , b e g i n s w i t h  there  e x i s t s an  the  social  the  d e s c r i p t i o n may  intimate  organization  of  not  the  setting i t describes.  be  accounts  organization  to the  process of  Smith  social  this  work o f d e s c r i b i n g .  r e l a t i o n s h i p w h i c h can  used to t r a c k  t r a c k i n g b a c k becomes t h e  on  and  Though  organization,  I t i s a knowledge o f  the  notion  between a d e s c r i p t i o n  display that s o c i a l  i n d e e d depend upon i t . w h i c h makes p o s s i b l e  link  the  i t does  organization  It is  this  back t h r o u g h d e s c r i p t i v e w h i c h t h e y depend.  This  i n v e s t i g a t i v e procedure.  says:  How t h e d e s c r i b e r . . . d o e s h e r work i s c o n t r o l l e d by her knowledge o f the s o c i a l l y o r g a n i z e d p r o c e s s e s which the terms... serve t o d e s c r i b e . T h i s knowledge e n t e r s i n t o the o r d e r i n g of the d e s c r i p t i o n , the way t h e d e s c r i p t i o n i s done; i t i s e s s e n t i a l t o t h e s e n s e t h a t i s made by t h e d e s c r i p t i o n . T h e r e i s no way i n w h i c h you c a n w r i t e a d e s c r i p t i o n o f a part i c u i a r - s e t t i n g w i t h o u t t h a t b e i n g i n c r u c i a l ways d e t e r m i n e d by t h e s o c i a l o r g a n i z a t i o n o f t h a t s e t t i n g , even t h o u g h i t may n o t a d e q u a t e l y d e s c r i b e it. There i s a d e t e r m i n a t i o n of the d e s c r i p t i o n and t h e s o c i a l o r g a n i z a t i o n o f t h e s e t t i n g w h i c h i s an e s s e n t i a l r e l a t i o n . I t i s that kind of r e l a t i o n t h a t we a r e h o p e f u l o f e x p l o i t i n g ; t h a t t h e r e i s t h a t a c t u a l r e l a t i o n s h i p t h a t e x i s t s . ( S m i t h , 1977b) 1  I can in  the  illustrate  newsroom.  One  this of  essential relation  the  aspects of  attempt  to focus  on  ments, I began t o c o l l e c t word  "assign"  the  experience  news p r o d u c t i o n  were most i n t e r e s t e d i n l e a r n i n g a b o u t was I n an  f r o m my  the  assignment  p r a c t i c e s which c o n s t i t u t e  i n my  fieldnotes various  i n d i f f e r e n t contexts:  an  that  process. assign-  uses of  assignment, to  we  be  the  - 52 -  assigned, getting  an a s s i g n m e n t ,  assignments, t y p i n g etc.  up a s s i g n m e n t s ,  I found myself  various  activities  looking  assignments  So I t r i e d  h a d i n common t h a t  o f t h e word  i n my  t o g e t h e r was  I f o u n d o b s e r v a t i o n s i n my  which  t h e y were c h a n g e d t o become desk  i n them a l l  surprise,  I found  information across the c i t y on i t .  a l l the v a r i o u s uses  some r e l a t i o n notes  like  desk  The desk  these o b s e r v a t i o n s , I a r r i v e d  to the c i t y  "The o n l y way i n  assignments  and t h e m e a n i n g was  t o be done w i t h i t . . . " ;  time working  these  "were".  a g a i n . . . . " ; "The s t u f f  o v e r t h e desk  what was  resulted  Much t o my  o u t what t h e y  desk.  quietly  assignments,  t o e x p r e s s what  n o t e s t h a t what t i e d  "assign"  over the c i t y  doing  were n o t t h e same " t h i n g " on a l l o c c a s i o n s .  to figure  I found  looking over  f o r a way  b e i n g named w i t h t h e same word. that  t o be on a s s i g n m e n t ,  was  just  that  they  passed  seemed t o p a s s  u n d e r s t o o d as t o  or "Reporters run t h e i r f o r p e r m i s s i o n t o spend  i s a clearing  house...".  a t the c o n c l u s i o n  that  shift Out o f  assignments  c o u l d b e s t be u n d e r s t o o d as. " a u t h o r i z a t i o n s " .  What S m i t h p o i n t s o u t a b o u t creates actual process device  an i d e o l o g i c a l social itself  relations  this  description, t h a t need  of a r r i v i n g  "conclusion"  by e l i m i n a t i n g  t o be d e s c r i b e d .  at "authorizations"  i s very illuminating,  since  i t was  as a  i s that i t p r e c i s e l y the However, t h e descriptive  o n l y p o s s i b l e by  virtue  -  o f my  knowledge o f  the  a c t u a l work p r a c t i c e s  Thus i t d e m o n s t r a t e s how its  s e n s e on  describes.  the  social  I t i s the  Smith says of  53  i t i s that organization  newsroom.  a d e s c r i p t i o n depends of  the  essential relation  that  i n the  for  setting i t  to which Smith  referred.  process:  What we had done was t o go f r o m t h i s c o l l e c t i o n o f v a r i o u s u s e s t h a t we c o u l d f i n d i n a c t u a l w o r k i n g c o n t e x t s , t o s e t up a d e s c r i p t i v e p r o c e d u r e w h i c h w o u l d a l l o w us t o t a l k as s o c i o l o g i s t s a b o u t a s s i g n ments as an o r g a n i z a t i o n a l f e a t u r e . . . w h i c h w o u l d have a l l o w e d us t o d e s c r i b e how a s s i g n m e n t s were done, what a s s i g n m e n t s were, e t c . u s i n g t h a t k i n d o f method...But you see t h a t i n t h a t p r o c e s s t h e r e i s a l r e a d y e x h i b i t e d a v e r y i m p o r t a n t way i n w h i c h we depended on t h e o r i g i n a l i n b e i n g a b l e t o do t h a t . . . I f you go b a c k t h r o u g h t h a t p r o c e s s , what you f i n d i s t h a t l i n k i s r e a l l y t h e r e . Though t h e s o c i a l o r g a n i z a t i o n i s n o t d e s c r i b e d by t h e d e s c r i p t i o n [eg. a s s i g n m e n t s a r e a u t h o r i z a t i o n s ] , n e v e r t h e l e s s , t h e d e s c r i p t i o n depends n e c e s s a r i l y on i t . ( S m i t h , 1977b)  Smith sees t h a t and  the  general  social feature  of  by  how  her  she  of the  accounts are  member o r  happening that  constrained  essential link  organization  method w h i c h t h e is  this  the  betweeen a d e s c r i p t i o n  setting i t describes generated.  I t i s the  same  o b s e r v e r u s e s t o c o n s t i t u t e what  a l s o uses i n making the  knowledge o f  is a  the  account; both  same s o c i a l l y  organized  practices.  " E s s e n t i a l l y to s t a t e i t very simply, the n o t i o n i s t h a t i n o r d e r t o be a b l e t o use c a t e g o r i e s i n what i s  are  -  54  -  r e c o g n i z e d as an i n t e l l i g i b l e f a s h i o n i n any g i v e n w o r k i n g c o n t e x t , y o u must a l r e a d y u n d e r s t a n d t h e s o c i a l processes which produce those r e l a t i o n s h i p s as o r d i n a r y p r a c t i c e s . The ways i n w h i c h p e o p l e t a l k , and t h e k i n d s o f t e r m s t h e y u s e , and t h e ways i n w h i c h t h e y t a l k a b o u t t h i n g s make s e n s e o n l y i n r e l a t i o n s h i p t o s o c i a l l y organized p r a c t i c e s which p r o d u c e t h e phenomena w h i c h c a n be named and a r e c o m p l e t e d i n t h a t way. Therefore i m p l i c i t i n your d e v e l o p i n g knowledge o f how t o t a l k p r o p e r l y a b o u t things i s a s o c i a l o r g a n i z a t i o n which i s not e x p l i c a t e d by t h e terms y o u u s e . " ( S m i t h , 1 9 7 6 a : l )  What S m i t h i s h o p e f u l a substructing would a l l o w and  o f doing  p r o c e d u r e much l i k e  us t o t r a c k  t h e one u s e d by Marx.  It  a c c o u n t s w h i c h a r e o r d i n a r i l y a v a i l a b l e t o us as a means  which that  language  serously. the  place  things way.  We  p r a c t i c e s on  kind  o f work i s by t a k i n g  the language  t a k e what i s o r d i n a r i l y a v a i l a b l e i n t h e t a l k a s  t o begin.  We  are constructed T h a t i s , we  w i t h i n which t h a t  look  t h e n go i n s e a r c h so t h a t  o f how i t i s t h a t  t h e y c a n be s p o k e n o f i n t h a t  f o r the s o c i a l l y  organized  language i s i n t e l l i g i b l e .  i s n o t t o be f o u n d i n t h e t a l k the t a l k .  organized  depends.  How we b e g i n t h i s  by  i n sociology  back t h r o u g h t h e d e s c r i p t i v e terms  t o know o u r w o r l d , t o t h e s o c i a l l y  for  i s developing  The t a l k l o c a t e s  ..itself,  practices  What we a r e l o o k i n g but i s presupposed  f o r us t h e s o c i a l l y  organized  p r a c t i c e s w h i c h need t o be e x p l i c a t e d .  What y o u do i s as one t h a t i s t h i n g s , so t h a t as i n f o r m a t i o n ,  t r e a t h i s way o f t a l k i n g a b o u t i t assuming a l l these k i n d s o f p r a c t i c a l what y o u do i s n o t t r e a t what he s a y s b u t as d a t a . So t h a t y o u s a y t h e n i n  -  55 -  so f a r a s h i s t a l k i s b o g g l i n g , t h e r e a r e t h i n g s a b o u t how i t ' s p u t t o g e t h e r t h a t make s e n s e o f t h e d e s c r i p t i o n t h a t h e ' s m a k i n g , and I d o n ' t know what t h e y a r e . ( S m i t h , 1976a:5)  So we  see t h a t  collection  this  approach p r e s c r i b e s  one w o u l d u s e i n t h e f i e l d .  That  t h e method o f d a t a i s , i t becomes  n e c e s s a r y t o t a k e p a i n s t o r e c o r d e x a c t l y what p e o p l e s a y , and  to t r e a t  practical  i t as what needs t o be p r o v i d e d f o r by  activities.  c a t c h on v e r y e a r l y .  that  record  of this  always  looking  understand  how  suspension i s that  e x a c t l y what p e o p l e  find  a t t e n d i n g t o what p e o p l e o u t what I w a n t e d t o know.  I s h o u l d do e x a c t l y that people  used  to understand  how  work  I d i d not  I w a n t e d t o know more unfortunate  suspending  them  f o r more i n f o r m a t i o n t o i t was  true.  One o f t h e  I d i d not take pains to  t o l d me,  not a t t e n d t o the language i t s e l f I was  field  a l l e x p l a n a t i o n s g i v e n me,  i t or at least  results  i n my  e x p l a n a t i o n s , so I d i d t h i s  i s a t one l e v e l ,  verify  that  I had a n o t i o n t h a t  than the s u p e r f i c i a l thing of suspending  I found  actual  o r how  they  specifically  said  told  me.  I did  enough, a l t h o u g h  as one o f t h e ways I w o u l d  E v e n t u a l l y I began t o s e e t h a t  t h e o p p o s i t e , t o r e c o r e d e v e r y e x a c t word  and how  and when t h e y u s e d  t o u s e what t h e y s a i d  it.  I finally  began  as d a t a , r a t h e r t h a n  e x p l a n a t i o n o r i n f o r m a t i o n ; n o t t o t r e a t what t h e y s a i d  as  telling  me what I w a n t e d t o know, b u t t o u s e what t h e y t o l d  to  o u t what I w a n t e d t o know.  find  as  me  - 56 -  When I s t a r t e d way, I f o u n d  that  I l e a r n e d t o hear were  i tactually  transformed  i n peoples' talk  talked  t h e phenomenon  about  "right"  it.  the uses  I had a v e r y c l e a r  to situation  o f the term  sense  "assign",  I was a b l e t o h e a r  ability  t o understand  I began t o t h i n k about been around  of  t o make s e n s e  for  i t was t h e a b l e t o move  trouble-  o f t e r m s were no l o n g e r a  i n what p e o p l e  said  the organization  o f what t h e y were s a y i n g . once  I had a l r e a d y  f o r some weeks d o i n g f i e l d , work and  of things people  But I had n o t been  t o l d me o r t o f i n d t h e  as I u n d e r s t o o d  i t was c l e a r  o f the s e t t i n g  about  they  f a m i l i a r w i t h many a s p e c t s o f t h e o r g a n i z a t i o n  I learned to l i s t e n ,  thinking  they  were  h a p p e n e d f o r me v e r y q u i c k l y  aspects of the organization  make s e n s e  that  and o t h e r s t h a t had been  t h i n g s t o w h i c h p e o p l e were r e f e r r i n g .  able  f o r me.  encountering a l l  t h i n g s p r o p e r l y , because  t h e newsroom  was a l r e a d y p a r t l y  that  I was s u d d e n l y  w h i c h t h e y depended upon f o r t h e s e n s e This  how t h e y  i n t h e newsroom,  some t o me, and t h e v a r i o u s u s e s problem.  the s e t t i n g  i n this  as i t was f o r them, i n t h e way  method o f p r o c e e d i n g , s i n c e  situation  i n the f i e l d  the organization  ' p e r f o r m i n g ' by t h e terms t h e y u s e d ,  assembling  from  t o a t t e n d t o language  t o me t h a t  b e f o r e was b e c a u s e  them t o b e . the reason  Once I couldn't  t h e way I was  i t was o u t o f s t e p w i t h how i t a c t u a l l y w o r k e d  t h o s e who d i d i t .  Orienting problem  to peoples' talk  i n a new way r e s o l v e d  this  f o r me and c o m p l e t e l y r e o r g a n i z e d my method o f work.  -  I began t o s e e how which  -  t o f o c u s on t h e o r g a n i z a t i o n  provided f o r the t a l k  kinds of ordinary  57  I heard  statements  of  activities  i n t h e newsroom and t h e  t h a t were made a b o u t  t h e work o f  v  p r o d u c i n g news. local  F o r example:  events reporters w i l l  doesn't r e q u i r e of  the booking  to  reporters  in  file";  stationed  o f work.  regulates  which  c o v e r " ; o r "Much o f t h e copy are generated out  o r "She h a n d l e s a s s i g n m e n t s  that  o u t s i d e t h e newsroom"; e t c .  o f accounts which  w o u l d show how  represented organized p r a c t i c a l  t h e newsroom.  kind  desk  any work"; o r " A s s i g n m e n t s  became t h e w r i t i n g statements  "The c i t y  The f o l l o w i n g  My  go o u t task  those  activities  of people  chapter begins t o demonstrate  this  - 58 -  CHAPTER THREE TOWARD E X P L I C A T I V E  In t h i s  chapter  I would l i k e  ACCOUNTS  to i l l u s t r a t e  some  aspects  o f w o r k i n g i n t h e way t h a t i s p r e s c r i b e d by t h e f o r e g o i n g discussion. begin  I will  introduce  t o have t h e c h a r a c t e r  organized  some e x a m p l e s o f a c c o u n t s  o f an e x p l i c a t i o n o f s o c i a l l y  p r a c t i c e s , and I w i l l  my e x p e r i e n c e  of trying  make some o b s e r v a t i o n s  to learn to write  When I b e g a n t o t r y t o w r i t e o f news p r o d u c t i o n , difficulty.  I found  which  I found t h a t i t very  i n this  way.  accounts o f various I was i n a g r e a t  tricky  from  aspects  deal of  t o p u t on paper t h e  o r g a n i z a t i o n t h a t I was l e a r n i n g t o ' p e r f o r m ' i n t h e newsroom. When I t r i e d  to write,  I found myself  o f how t o p e r f o r m t h e s e t t i n g rather I found  t r e a t i n g my own k n o w l e d g e  as a r e s o u r c e  t h a n as t h e method o f a s s e m b l i n g that things  recognized  f o r my  the account.  And so  came o u t i n t h e same o b j e c t i f i e d  as c h a r a c t e r i s t i c  s e n t e n c e s seemed i n s p i t e  of conventional  o f my b e s t  subject matter the character  efforts,  of having  to b r i n g i t i n t o being.  to give  an e x i s t e n c e  So I ended up w i t h  ments f o r example, w h i c h s t i l l  represented  mode t h a t I  description.  o f my knowledge o f i t , a n d i n d e p e n d e n t o f a n y t h i n g  My  t o the  independent t h a t was done  accounts of a s s i g n them as o b j e c t s ,  t h o u g h I knew t h a t t h a t i s n o t how a s s i g n m e n t s newsroom.  account  'were' i n t h e  even  - 59 -  This experience demonstrated we  a r e i n an o b j e c t i f i e d  do an a c c o u n t w h i c h  to s o c i a l  ment o f r e a l  need  t o use it  relation  language  from w i t h i n  it  sense  to the s u b j e c t  the o r g a n i z a t i o n of s o c i a l  the problem  I think different  which  accomplish^-  That  described.  i t i s that  familiar, We  relations  need enter  i n which  The  social  distinguish each  phenomena a r e  that  t h e phenomenon i s  a c c o u n t must make v i s i b l e ,  i n , t h e work o f a s s e m b l i n g  be u s e f u l  kinds of accounts.  to  i s , i t must t a k e as i t s p r o b l e m a t i c ,  i s a l r e a d y assembled  i t will  account  Such an a c c o u n t must a t  i t t o g e t h e r as what i t i s , r a t h e r  o b j e c t which  objectively  f o r us.  o f how  the reader to p a r t i c i p a t e putting  that  s u c h an a c c o u n t an e x p l i c a t i o n ,  t o be o b s e r v e d .  t o be  into  of the account.  what i s a l r e a d y g i v e n i n d e s c r i p t i o n , there  as a p r a c t i c a l  t h a t o n l y makes s e n s e when we  from c o n v e n t i o n a l d e s c r i p t i o n .  there  c h a r a c t e r o f an  o f p u t t i n g words t o g e t h e r  from e n t e r i n g  i n a way  have c a l l e d  step address  In o r d e r to  i t i s n e c e s s a r y t o o r g a n i z e an  t h e phenomenon does a r i s e  We  thoroughly entrenched  people.  a c t u a l l y b l o c k s us  objectified  a way  phenomena t h e i r  I began t o see t h a t which  how  mode o f knowing t h e w o r l d .  does n o t have t h i s  a c c o m p l i s h e d w o r l d , we restores  f o r me  and  t h e phenomenon,  t h a n p r e s e n t i n g an  somehow p r i o r  t o the  account.  t o l o o k a t examples o f t h e The  two  require  examples w h i c h  two  follow  are  - 60 -  b o t h on t h e t o p i c o f s o u r c e s a relatively flat  conventional  character  o f a world  o f news.  type  The f i r s t  account i s  o f d e s c r i p t i o n , which as t h e  which i s o b j e c t i v e l y there.  The  s e c o n d a c c o u n t i s an a t t e m p t t o l e a r n t o do i t t h e o t h e r way; to  c o n s t r u c t an a c c o u n t which e x p l i c a t e s t h e o r g a n i z a t i o n o f  social  r e l a t i o n s i n w h i c h t h e phenomena a r i s e  This d i s c u s s i o n o f sources  o f news i s o n l y  the  k i n d o f work t h a t needs t o be done.  and  i n some ways, t e c h n i c a l .  I will scale  for us.  Following  a sample o f  I t i s very d e t a i l e d , this  t e c h n i c a l example,  go on t o d i s c u s s how i t i s p a r t o f an e n q u i r y i n t o the s o c i a l  The  first  c o n s t r u c t i o n o f news.  example b e l o w i s v e r y i t .  on a l a r g e r  which  follows  I t i s intended  style  o f work, a n d t o p r o v i d e  brief,  only  and so i s t h e d i s c u s s i o n  to i l l u s t r a t e  the point o f departure  a descriptive for the  account which f o l l o w s i t .  DESCRIBING SOURCES OF NEWS:  AN ILLUSTRATION  T h e r e a r e a number o f r o u t i n e s o u r c e s o f l o c a l news f o r the newspaper. P r o b a b l y t h e most a b u n d a n t s o u r c e i s t h e newspaper i t s e l f . T h a t i s , news s t o r i e s f r o m previous papers provide a constant source o f information a b o u t newsworthy d e v e l o p m e n t s . A n o t h e r i s r a d i o news; i n V a n c o u v e r , a l l CKNW news b r o a d c a s t s a r e m o n i t o r e d by t h e newspaper t o c a t c h t h e l a t e s t d e v e l o p m e n t s a n d any i t e m s t h e n e w s p a p e r m i g h t have m i s s e d . Another source i s p o l i c e r a d i o w h i c h i s l i s t e n e d t o i n t h e newsroom t o g i v e t h e p a p e r e a r l y a c c e s s t o newsworthy o c c u r a n c e s . P r e s s r e l e a s e s a r e another source o f i n f o r m a t i o n from a w i d e v a r i e t y o f b u s i n e s s e s , community o r g a n i z a t i o n s , and l e v e l s o f g o v e r n m e n t . Then t h e r e a r e a g r e a t number o f phone c a l l s w h i c h a r e r e f e r r e d t o a s phone t i p s .  - 61 -  A phone t i p i s a c a l l w h i c h g i v e s t h e newspaper some p i e c e o f i n f o r m a t i o n t h a t may be u s e d i n t h e m a k i n g o f a news s t o r y . The i n f o r m a t i o n must be o f p u b l i c c o n c e r n . F o r example, a c a l l f r o m an a l d e r m a n a b o u t a p u b l i c m e e t i n g b e i n g announced w o u l d be a t i p . So w o u l d a b u s i n e s s man c a l l i n g t o s a y t h a t t h e bank n e x t d o o r t o h i s shop was b e i n g r o b b e d . However, a c a l l f r o m a p e n s i o n e r s a y i n g t h a t h i s c h e c k was two d a y s l a t e w o u l d n o t be c o n s i d e r e d a s u i t a b l e m a t t e r , o r someone c a l l i n g t o s a y t h a t h e r n e i g h b o u r was beating h i s wife.  The is  most i n t e r e s t i n g  that i t i s b a s i c a l l y  information  correct.  about sources  informational,  feature of this  o f news i s a c c u r a t e .  hear, i t f e e l s q u i t e acceptable The p r o b l e m l i e s  will.  I t i s put together  o f how t h i n g s are  us a b o u t s o u r c e s  understanding  For  us what we e x p e c t t o  i n what i t d o e s n ' t t e l l i n a way t h a t e x c l u d e s  how t h e y  Because i t i s  as an a c c o u n t o f s o u r c e s  g e t done, how t h e y  known; and i t does n o t e v e n d i r e c t  tells  on  arise,  of account,  What i t does g i v e by way o f  and b e c a u s e i t does t e l l  news.  type  us and n e v e r consideration work, how  o f news i n a way t h a t adds l i t t l e  example, how do p r e v i o u s  to our  How  p a p e r s come t o have some  i s t h a t done as a p r a c t i c a l How does  news have i t e m s t h a t t h e newspaper d o e s n ' t known a b o u t ?  as  It  o f them.  f u t u r e news s t o r i e s ?  newspaper u s e p o l i c e r a d i o ?  reports  they  us t o t h e q u e s t i o n s .  What does i t mean t o m o n i t o r a r a d i o b r o a d c a s t ?  the  of  Does a r e p o r t e r w r i t e  f r o m what she h e a r s on t h e r a d i o ?  news s t o r i e s ?  Do r e p o r t e r s w r i t e  Are press  stories  effect  matter? radio How  does  news  releases  used  f r o m phone t i p s ? e t c .  - 62 -  The lacking in  problem with the account o f sources i n these d e t a i l s .  a call  t h a t has c e r t a i n f e a t u r e s .  between t h e c a l l e r constituted.  follows  I t s character rather  I am c o n c e r n e d w i t h  as a " t i p "  than t o the r e l a t i o n  It will  i t includes  I feel  that  have t h i s  character  be c l e a r t h a t  SOURCES OF NEWS: notion  piece itself  need t o be added t o t h e f o r accounts t o  under c o n s t r u c t i o n  d o i n g o f t h e a c c o u n t needs t o be made v i s i b l e construction  i tis a  r e m a r k s on t h e p r o c e d u r e  i t i s n o t a bad t h i n g  o f being  i t uses t o  t o p r o d u c e an e x p l i c a t i o n  on d e t a i l s o f d a t a t h a t  account.  The  as a t i p  i s n o t my  the procedure that  I t i s an a t t e m p t  than a d e s c r i p t i o n .  observations  social  as  The s e c o n d a c c o u n t o f s o u r c e s o f news w h i c h  o f work i n p r o g r e s s ; and  itself,  i s described  and newspaper i n w h i c h i t s c h a r a c t e r  make s o m e t h i n g known. rather  s o u r c e s o f news  i s l e n g t h i e r and more d e t a i l e d , b u t t h a t  concern.  i t is  t h e p r o b l e m o f how t h e y a r e b r o u g h t  A phone t i p , f o r example,  is attributed to the c a l l  is  Rather i t i d e n t i f i e s  a way w h i c h d i s r e g a r d s  about i n p r a c t i c e .  i s not that  given  as p a r t  that the of the  o f the o b j e c t .  DOING AN E X P L I C A T I V E ACCOUNT  o f " s o u r c e s o f news" i s commonly u s e d i n t a l k  about the p r o d u c t i o n  o f news t o d e s c r i b e  e v e n t s become known t o t h e n e w s p a p e r .  t h e means by w h i c h news  Accepted  s e n s e manner, t h e t e r m c a r r i e s a c o n n o t a t i o n up  from the s o c i a l w o r l d  of  t h e newspaper  office.  i n a common  o f news  springing  l i k e water from a w e l l , a t the door  -  Used i n t h i s of t a l k i n g used  about  63 -  common s e n s e way, " s o u r c e " i s p a r t o f a way news w h i c h g l o s s e s o v e r t h e phenomena i t i s  to describe.  I t obscures, rather  than making  visible,  t h o s e p r o c e s s e s by w h i c h t h e newspaper a c q u i r e s i n f o r m a t i o n . That  i s , i t obscures  of part  how t h e n o t i o n o f " s o u r c e " i s a d e s c r i p t i o n  o f t h e p r o c e s s o f news p r o d u c t i o n .  When we i n v e s t i g a t e t o d e s c r i b e , we f i n d  the processes which  a number o f o b s e r v a b l e a c t i v i t i e s w h i c h a r e  t h e a c t i v e work o f c o n s t i t u t i n g the s o c i a l world o f news.  "source" i s used  c e r t a i n p e r s o n s and p l a c e s i n  as r e s o u r c e s f o r m a t e r i a l u s e d  A s o u r c e o f news i s f o u n d  of a b u r e a u c r a t i c s t y l e  i n the production  t o emerge as t h e p r o d u c t  o f work w h i c h o r g a n i z e s t h o s e  locations  as r o u t i n e p r o v i d e r s o f t h e m a t e r i a l w h i c h i s u t i l i z e d p r o d u c t i o n o f news. volunteers  Thus a s o u r c e  i s not'something  from t h e s o c i a l w o r l d , b u t i s produced  i n the  which  i n t h e work  o f news p r o d u c t i o n .  So is for  t h a t we a r r i v e  n o t any k i n d something  a t an u n d e r s t a n d i n g  of natural object that  t h a t conforms t o t h a t  o f making news. organized  a "news  practices  I t arises  as i n f o r m a t i o n f o r t h e purposes  s o c i a l p r a c t i c e s which b r i n g a socially  only  by w h i c h t h e  A s o u r c e h a s no o t h e r e x i s t e n c e t h a n  what w o u l d be c a l l e d  source"  c a n be f o u n d by l o o k i n g  description.  as a p r o d u c t o f t h e o r g a n i z e d s o c i a l n e w s p a p e r a c q u i r e s wh'at i s t r e a t e d  that  i tinto being.  o r g a n i z e d phenomenon.  i n the It is  -  So we retains  64  -  n e e d a method o f d e s c r i b i n g "news s o u r c e s "  t h e c h a r a c t e r o f t h e phenomena t h e m s e l v e s .  be a b l e t o do an a c c o u n t o f s o u r c e s as  objectified,  which a r i s e words,  we  o u t o f t h e work p r a c t i c e s t h e y  need t o d e s c r i b e what a s o u r c e  When we  need t o  them n o t  objects  describe.  In other  i s i n terms o f t h e  work p r a c t i c e s by w h i c h i n f o r m a t i o n i s g a t h e r e d of producing  We  which r e p r e s e n t s  n a t u r a l phenomena, b u t as s o c i a l  which  f o r the purposes  news.  i n v e s t i g a t e t h e s e work p r a c t i c e s , we  of r o u t i n e procedures  which  scan,  listen  find  f o r , attend  a number  to, recover,  i n v a r i o u s ways, f e a t u r e s o f t h e s o c i a l w o r l d  which are t r e a t a b l e  by t h o s e  These work  practices  methods w h i c h p r o d u c e news s t o r i e s . organize  community w h i c h kind  of active  a r e l a t i o n between t h e newspaper and t h e  i s sometimes listening.  d e s c r i b e d as  "monitoring",  These m o n i t o r i n g  p r a c t i c e s are p a r t  o f t h e method by w h i c h t h e c o r p o r a t i o n o r g a n i z e s The m a t e r i a l w h i c h i s p r o d u c e d i n t h i s way of  t h e news p r o d u c t i o n p r o c e s s .  practices  c a n be  provides water. source  In t h i s  t r e a t e d much l i k e The m o n i t o r i n g  or a  i t senterprise.  i s a dependable sense the  the w e l l which  p r a c t i c e s provide  feature  monitoring dependably a dependable  o f news m a t e r i a l .  T h e r e a r e q u i t e a number o f p r a c t i c e s t h a t need t o be investigated in  in detail  i n order  t o d e s c r i b e the various  t e r m s o f t h e work o u t o f w h i c h t h e y  arise.  "sources"  F o r example,  one  -  w o u l d have t o  i n v e s t i g a t e the  p a p e r s t o d i s p l a y how a source of detail  65  -  activities  i t i s that  the  One  r a d i o news i n o r d e r  r a d i o becomes a s o u r c e o f news f o r t h e  the  work o f m o n i t o r i n g p o l i c e r a d i o  One  w o u l d have t o  releases  t o show how  would need t o l o o k which the  This  Here I w i l l  serve  account of  that  Phone  is  press  acquire  in detail  only  the  of  exhaustive.  one  of  these p r a c t i c e s ,  phone t i p s .  This  discussion  investigation  that  detailed level  It is a level  i n the  data. field,  and  this  i s not  and  It  d i s c u s s i o n o f phone t i p s of  One  becomes a s o u r c e  t h e k i n d we< are recommending would, l o o k l i k e .  for  utilized.  by  i s c e r t a i n l y not  i s demanding t o r e c o r d  collected  that  similarly  procedure  p r i m a r i l y t o d e m o n s t r a t e what an  a highly  how  a d e p e n d a b l e s o u r c e o f news.  reporters  list  t o show  surrounding  t h e w r i t i n g o f memos as  discuss  c l e a r from the  requires  will  work of  data  often  ethnographies.  Tips One  important  aspect  of  a c c o m p l i s h e s what i s c a l l e d The  activity  becomes  n e w s p a p e r , and  t o show how  s o u r c e o f news w h i c h i s known as  will  be  they are  knowledge t h a t  news m a t e r i a l .  the  at  a t the  previous  w o u l d have t o c a r e f u l l y  the  look  clipping  newspaper i t s e l f  s u b s e q u e n t news s t o r i e s .  t h e work o f m o n i t o r i n g  of  newspaper, makes i t s e l f  t e l e p h o n e c a l l s w h i c h may  the  monitoring,  "sources of  news" i s t h e  a v a i l a b l e day serve  -'-See E r r i n g t o n (1973) f o r an that i s required.  the  procedure  and  night  to  telephone. receive  purpose of p r o v i d i n g  illustration  of  the  kind  which  of  what  data  -  can  be  t r e a t e d as  news.  We  The  can  look  t o be  i n some d e t a i l  to r e c e i v e such c a l l s  newsroom. be  information  -  used i n the  a t how  this  However, n o t  considered  constituted  as  i s the  a l l calls  "phone . t i p s " .  to handle i n d i v i d u a l  t h a t we  calls  various  shall  Constituting calls  as  that  I t i s i n the they  different  examine i n  f o r the  the  of c a l l s .  handling  to  i n t e g r a t e i t i n t o the  c a l l with  preliminary processing  of  phone r i n g s .  the  caller  and  appears to her first  we  by  called  as  and  the  "phone  the  p e r s o n s who  like  in  as  a  This  the source i s done serves  news-making p r o c e s s .  This  observation  receive c a l l s /  The'  this:  A person a t the  r e w r i t e desk answers i t .  i n v o l v i n g the  identity  s u b j e c t matter of the  have the this  utilized  t r e a t i n g a phone c a l l  stream of  a process the  be  a p r e l i m i n a r y procedure which  t h e work r o u t i n e s o f t h e  recognizes,  used  detail.  i s a c t u a l l y a v a i l a b l e to  p r o c e d u r e goes s o m e t h i n g  She  It is  calls  p u r p o s e s o f m a k i n g news.  by  The  procedures  a phone t i p i s a p r o c e d u r e w h i c h t r e a t s some  o f news s t o r i e s ;  of i n f o r m a t i o n  desk  become d i f f e r e n t i a t e d  kinds  are  the  t h a t come i n t o t h i s  p r o v i d i n g i n f o r m a t i o n which can  production  in  of  i s done.  r e w r i t e desk i n  procedure which constitutes, c e r t a i n of those tips"  production  l o c a t i o n i n t h e newspaper o r g a n i z a t i o n where p e o p l e  prepared  will  66  character  a process  of  of  "being"  call  and  intention  t h a t the  a phone t i p .  typification  (Schutz).  call At Later  -  we  began t o see  of data  writes this  on  fully  explored  p r e c i s e l y what t h e  down, a t t e n d s  to i n the  as  a practical  of the  information  considered  there  out.  as  My  on  this  caller  procedure  asks, Roughly  seems t o  caller  a crank";  available, etc. be  by  t o know; w h e t h e r  "just  a p r o c e d u r e which can  data  activity  whether the  a u t h o r i t a t i v e , or perhaps  determination, filled  wants o t h e r s  i s of p u b l i c i n t e r e s t ,  i s further information  "being"  phone c a l l .  i s t h e work w h i c h d e t e r m i n e s w h e t h e r t h e  that  as  rewrite person says,  course  have some i n f o r m a t i o n w h i c h she  be  -  t h a t t h e work o f r e c o g n i z i n g a c a l l  a phone t i p c o u l d be use  67  The  whether  details  learned,  i s a t the  can  of  need t o  this be  moment  incomplete.  Having used a p r o c e d u r e which g i v e s as  a phone t i p , t h e  r e w r i t e person then  procedures t h a t c o n s t i t u t e s the booklet  c o n s i s t i n g of  from the and  types  desk b e s i d e as  she  four pieces the  listens,  "details"  she  The  work o f  a l s o has  the  as  a tip.  She  places,  times,  what i s known as  identifying  "details"  and  appearance of a process  as  the  rewrite person experiences  as  having  as  a s e t o f p r a c t i c e s which can  that character.  But  etc.  of  She  of up  a  carbon  records  e t c . known as  " a l l the  in the  information".  information"  typification, aspects  t h i s work a l s o can be  call  typewriter,  " a l l the  various  to the  picks  of rough paper with  asks q u e s t i o n s ,  names, d a t e s , has  follows a set  phone, p u t s i t i n t o t h e  t h i s manner t h e until  call  determination  i n as  of the be  f o u n d i n what t h e  much  call  examined rewrite  -  person attends  to i n the course  what she t y p i c a l l y w r i t e s  Since intended a  later  68  -  of the conversation,  down, e t c .  t h i s work o f c o n s t i t u t i n g a t i p i s o r g a n i z e d  use i n e n a b l i n g time, doing  caller  "details"  things  has t o o f f e r ,  and " i n f o r m a t i o n "  getting etc. for  of the information  Doing  organizing  details  The  c a n be c o n t a c t e d  "details"  regarding  features of information  of these  that  numbers  the information,  and t i m e o f t h e c a l l ,  and " i n f o r m a t i o n "  and u s a b l e  which  g e t t i n g t h e c o r r e c t d a t e and t i m e  t h e c o r r e c t name o f t h e c a l l e r  recognizable  is  are procedures  a r e h a p p e n i n g , g e t t i n g c o r r e c t names and phone  o f p e r s o n s who  by i t s  a r e p o r t e r t o do i n v e s t i g a t i v e work a t  s u c h as g e t t i n g t h e c o r r e c t n a t u r e the  exactly  are also i n a way  i n the context  procedures t h a t makes i t  o f news.  Again,  the  p r a c t i c e s n e e d t o be made known.  document t h a t emerges i n q u a d r u p l i c a t e  r e f e r r e d t o i n t h e newsroom  as a phone t i p .  from t h i s The  process  rewrite  p e r s o n p u t s one c o p y o f i t on t h e s p i n d l e on h e r desk and three  copies  In o r d e r  i n t o t h e r e c e i v i n g basket  to c a l l  on t h e c i t y  a t t e n t i o n t o p r o c e d u r e s u s e d i n t h e news-  room w h i c h a r e an e s s e n t i a l p a r t o f how want t o r e f e r  t o two common o c c a s i o n s  information to o f f e r  desk.  a phone t i p a r i s e s ,  on w h i c h a c a l l e r  but which are not t r e a t e d with  which c o n s t i t u t e s those  calls  as phone  tips.  I  has  the procedure  -  One often  a grievance occasions  for  c a l l with  w h i c h he  the the  relief  appropriate the  tips,  the  problem.  the  r e w r i t e desk t h e y call  w i l l be  The  This  given  occasion  "phones i n a s t o r y " .  i s s t r u c t u r e d by  has  not  determination  satisfactory  as  fact  that  been o r g a n i z e d  with  the  "gripes". "being"  The  a gripe.  t o i s when a  T h a t i s , when a r e p o r t e r c a l l s  the  contacted  w h i c h become phone  newsroom a s  I want t o r e f e r  the  reporter to d i c t a t e  T h i s example i s h e l p f u l  information  i n t o the  on  a phone  that  occasion  f o r m i n w h i c h i t can  situation,  newsroom when d e a d l i n e she  calls  news s t o r y t o someone a t t h e is  be  be  news.  i s outside  In t h i s  phone  should a  situation,  these  which s t a r t out  P h o n i n g i n a s t o r y i s a common p r o c e d u r e who  the  c o n t r a s t t h a t t h e work o f d o i n g  tip  u s e d as  annoying  some o f  t o be  those  o v e r t h e phone a f i n i s h e d news s t o r y .  already  On  p e r s o n who  calls as  an  That i s ,  p r a c t i c e s o f a n s w e r i n g phones a t  are  b e c a u s e i t shows by  on  caller  i s said  They a r e  r e f e r r e d t o i n the  other  the  a g e n c y and  same c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s  but w i t h i n  "gripe".  information  rewrite person gives  of  a  wants t o have a i r e d .  r e s p o n s e t o many c a l l s . roughly  -  i s when a c a l l i s t r e a t e d as  a person w i l l  number o f  69  i n t o the  for a  t i m e comes a r o u n d .  newsroom and  r e w r i t e desk.  reporter  The  done i s f o r a r e w r i t e p e r s o n t o s e t a t t h e  way  dictates  the  i n which  typewriter with  this the  -  phone o v e r one reporter of  dictates  i t .  the r e w r i t e person  story is  s h o u l d e r and  i s extremely  limited  etc.  On  7 0  t y p e t h e s t o r y v e r b a t i m as  these occasions the  i n completing  restricted.  to matters  -  responsibility  t h e work o f p h o n i n g  Roughly, her  of s p e l l i n g ,  punctuation,  capitalization,  i s wholly  responsibility  o f the r e p o r t e r .  responsibility  f o r the a p p r o p r i a t e n e s s , accuracy,  o f t h e i n f o r m a t i o n she  responsibility  t h i s way.  proper  The  paper,  r e w r i t e person  i s recording.  o f t h e r e p o r t e r who  whose name goes on in  The  rewrite person  number o f c o p i e s , f o r p u t t i n g  took  as t h e p e r s o n who  t h e o c c a s i o n o f a phone t i p , on  c a l l e r i s n o t a r e p o r t e r , and  by  a completely  way  the  the  for  i n f o r m a t i o n has  relationship  entirely  identifying  dictation.  not  f o r use  Then t h e work o f t h e r e w r i t e p e r s o n different  to the c a l l e r  can p r o v i d e .  the  the  t h e o t h e r hand,  t o make i t w a r r a n t a b l e  i n f o r m a t i o n which the c a l l e r procedures  and  i s responsible for using  himself or h e r s e l f  making p r o c e s s .  the  t h e b o t t o m o f t h e document w h i c h i s t y p e d  the proper  i n any  no  comleteness,  composed t h e s t o r y ,  p l a c e s , and  worked up  the  takes  These a r e  p r o p e r number o f c o p i e s i n t h e r i g h t  On  in a  responsibility  What g e t s r e c o r d e d i n t e r m s o f c o n t e n t  etc.,  the  a l r e a d y been i n t h e news i s organized and  A different  i s r e q u i r e d to g i v e to the c a l l  the  the  set of  the o r g a n i z a t i o n  w h i c h i d e n t i f i e s i t as a phone t i p .  What i s v i s i b l e a phone c a l l s p r i n g up  as a  from  i n these accounts  "tip",  the nature  a "gripe"  or a  o f the c a l l s  i s that "story"  the c h a r a c t e r o f does n o t  themselves.  The  merely activities  -  of  the  calls of  occasions  are  i n t o being  part  of  71  -  the  procedure  as what t h e y a r e .  For  a phone t i p , i t becomes c l e a r t h a t  merely  spring  in  s o c i a l world  the  character  up  as  for  example,  to provide an  the  In  f  a number o f  the  the  appearance of  call  itself  as  We  a phone t i p as  e x i s t i n g on  object,  t h a n as  doing the  an  so we  In the did  as  our  to  the  call  accounts of informants,  have been w r i t t e n practical  rather  attribute a feature  activities,  by  aspects of  or  i s not  of  the  as  of  itself.  called  the  the  other  as  method o f its  and  in'the  the  using  side of i t s In  describing  character.  i n the  newsroom  s o c i o l o g i s t s , the  that organized  work have become o b j e c t i f i e d .  features  of  the  A call  organization  the as  f r o m an  the  attention.  a c c o u n t s o f news work  j o u r n a l i s t s and  event,  practices. are  our  t h e i r work t h a t p e o p l e  a phone t i p i s t r e a t e d  call  to  a social practice. the  itself  come t o u n d e r s t a n d a s p e c t s o f news p r o d u c t i o n  organized  objective  a phone t i p , we  method t o w h i c h S m i t h has  name l i k e  an  these organized  referential represent  relation  Its  news.  t a l k which d e s c r i b e s  describing  not  newspaper w i t h news.  accomplishment of  A phone t i p a c q u i r e s i n the  case  a phone t i p does  p r a c t i c e s w h i c h b r i n g a phone " c a l l i n t o t h a t  then,  i n the  a s o u r c e o f news f r o m some d i s p o s i t i o n  is clearly  work o f p r o d u c i n g  bringing-the  of  s o c i a l world. a matter of  the  We work  have of  Thus what i s the  features  a l d e r m a n t o announce  a  p u b l i c meeting  comes t o be  does i s r e n d e r  invisible  people"  i n which that  seen  itself  a l l the  as  "a t i p " .  What  "actual a c t i v i t i e s  of  this  real  character arises.  TOWARD OTHER E X P L I C A T I V E ACCOUNTS T h i s d i s c u s s i o n o f phone t i p s indication develop  a way  socially be  o f how  treated  account which e x p l i c a t e s  to  the  S i m i l a r work  can  we  l o o k a t t h e v a r i o u s t e r m s w h i c h a r e a p a r t o f news  news, a s s i g n m e n t s , find  that  stories,  the terms a r i s e  e v e n t s , developments,  Though we  o r g a n i z a t i o n of that  i n the p r a c t i c e  come t o s e e  closer  examination  rather learning  learning  like  that  found  the procedures  organized practice  like  That  be  no  found  d i s c o v e r upon  like  i s , t h e y c a n be  mushrooms, found  only  them; o n l y by  them as what t h e y a r e i n t h e  T h i s method o f work c a n be  t h e y have  e v e n t s , as o b j e c t s o r  for constituting  i n which they  work.  relations.  mushrooms, we  they cannot  phone t i p s .  t o assemble  of those  them as d i s c r e t e  o c c a s i o n s w h i c h c a n be  local  i n t h e work o f p r o d u c i n g news  name a s p e c t s o f t h e p r a c t i c a l  other e x i s t e n c e than  by  an  I t i s an a t t e m p t  They name o r g a n i z e d r e l a t i o n s between p e o p l e , and  but  as  done w i t h o t h e r a s p e c t s o f t h e p r o d u c t i o n o f news.  work —  and  o f o r g a n i z i n g an  t o work.  o r g a n i z e d c h a r a c t e r o f phenomena.  When we  —  i t i s possible  s h o u l d be  socially  arise.  used  to e x p l i c a t e  not only  t e c h n i c a l work r o u t i n e s , b u t a l s o more g e n e r a l f e a t u r e s o f news which o r i g i n a t e  as a s o c i a l l y  organized  practice.  -  73 -  F o r example, c o n s i d e r t h e problem news i t s e l f around  is.  A l o t of interest  the problem  of trying  news i s commonly t r e a t e d happening.  i n news h a s b e e n o r g a n i z e d  t o d e f i n e i t . What i s o r i s n o t  as d e t e r m i n e d  "News i s t h e u n e x p e c t e d " ;  t o a l l p e o p l e , human i n t e r e s t " ;  able  quality  something it,  a r e lengthy. assumption  character; that  phenomena.  We  t h i n k o f news as  i s f o u n d by l o o k i n g f o r i t :  journalists  "gather"  " c o v e r " i t , " c a t c h " i t and " r e c o g n i z e " i t .  T h a t news e x i s t s  f o r us as an o r d i n a r y p a r t o f t h e  we i n h a b i t  i s i n d i s p u t a b l e ; we c a n go o u t and buy a  which w i l l  tell  thinking without  about  which b r i n g  The  us t h e news. news i n t h i s  an a u t h o r " .  understanding  i s , again, the "actual  t o a happening  What i s l e f t  activities  out of this  of real  as news i s d e t e r m i n e d  social.  i n a process  I t s news-ness i s c a r v e d o u t o f  s o c i a l p r o c e s s by t h e r o u t i n e a c t i v i t i e s  h a p p e n i n g s as news i s t o be f o u n d o f the happening  people"  i t s c h a r a c t e r as an i t e m o f news.  t h e c o u r s e o f d o i n g t h e i r work.  features  paper  i s a p r o b l e m , however, i n  1974a:28)  c h a r a c t e r o f events  the ongoing  There  world  o b j e c t i f i e d way, as i f i t "happened  (Smith,  which i s fundamentally  in  news  e x i s t e n c e as a phenomenon o r as an o b s e r v -  of certain  that  of c r i t e r i a  depend upon t h e  t h a t news h a s some k i n d o f o b j e c t i v e an i n d e p e n d e n t  by f e a t u r e s o f t h e o r "News i s a l l t h i n g s  lists  T h e s e a n d o t h e r common s t a t e m e n t s  has  o f u n d e r s t a n d i n g what  itself.  of reporters  The d e t e r m i n a t i o n o f i n t h i s work, n o t i n t h e The phenomenon w h i c h we  know  -  74  -  as  "news" i s t h u s a s o c i a l  is  done as a p r a c t i c a l  of  enquiry which i s suggested here.  to  t r y t o d e v e l o p an e x p l i c a t i v e  That  interest  indicate  The being, the  phrase  is  i n news.  I t i s n o t my  construction of the kind intention  a c c o u n t o f news i n t h i s  Here I w i l l  paper.  do no more t h a n b e g i n procede.  place to begin the e x p l o r a t i o n the procedure  "news s e n s e " , o r o t h e r s l i k e  news and r e c o g n i z e i t .  very worthwhile.  o f how news comes  outlined  o f news p e o p l e t h e m s e l v e s .  news i s p r o d u c e d ; of  that  becomes t h e t o p i c  how s u c h an e n q u i r y w o u l d  following  talk  find  activity  How  i s r a t h e r t h e t a s k o f many p a p e r s , and t h e g o a l o f o u r  ongoing to  construction.  i n this  paper,  i s with  Journalists often  use the  i t , to identify  F o c u s s i n g on t h i s  how  the contrary.  they  illusive  I t i s n o t u s e f u l because i t t e l l s  quite  into  "sense" us how  As an e x p l a n a t i o n o f  how j o u r n a l i s t s work, t h e c o n c e p t o f news s e n s e w h o l l y  obscures  t h e work i t p u r p o r t s t o e x p l a i n .  reporters the  actually  do, c o m p l e t e l y i n a c c e s s i b l e .  Rather,  n o t i o n o f news s e n s e becomes u s e f u l o n l y when we t a k e i t  as a p r o b l e m a t i c , as a t o p i c how t h i s  The called  for investigation.  We need t o a s k  " s e n s e " o p e r a t e s as a p r a c t i c e .  task i s to e x p l i c a t e  "news s e n s e "  production  description.  and  into  some o f t h e ways t h a t what i s  i s actually  through p r a c t i c e s  and  this  I t r e n d e r s what  That  o r g a n i z e d i n t o Lthe work o f news  that are available  i s , to bring  to observation  them o u t o f p e o p l e s ' h e a d s  t h e work s e t t i n g where t h e s u c c e s s f u l p r a c t i c e o f  so-called  "sense"  i s a dependable  feature of the corporate  -  75  newspaper as  -  enterprise.  The  because t h i s  successful p r a c t i c e i s organized  o f news p r o d u c t i o n . ellusive  t a l e n t of  organization  The  a business enterprise  corporation  a gifted  few;  does n o t  i t relies  on  W o r k i n g i n t h i s way the  character  practices can  be  of  of  the  bureaurcratic  i t into  can  it  directly  is  t a l k i n g about:  times.  to  l o c a t a b l e , observable,  an  ellusive  phenomenon w h i c h  a continual a product of  discovery the  see  how  a c t u a l work  product of  of  organized  i t .  News  describable  arises a gift  of  the  practices  being.  i t w o u l d be  o f news p r o d u c t i o n  We  commodity  the•work of p r o d u c i n g  i t i s not  I n t h i s way practices  a  work  on a l l  do  News i s r a t h e r  which b r i n g  news a r i s e s i n t h e  p e o p l e who  I t i s not  independently; senses.  rely  i t w o u l d become p o s s i b l e  e v e n t s as  the  f o u n d as  practices.  i n t o the  o f work w h i c h d e p e n d a b l y p r o d u c e s t h e  "news" i n d e p e n d a b l e q u a n t i t i e s , a t d e p e n d a b l e  survives  t a k e what S m i t h has t o news as  possible  to  which give  show t h e  organized  determination  t o news.  s a i d a b o u t d e s c r i p t i o n s and  a very  appropriate  apply  example o f what  The d e s c r i p t i o n must be s e e n as a s p e c i a l k i n d o f e n t e r p r i s e which i s p a r t of a l a r g e r o r g a n i z a t i o n . ...We make them f o r p r a c t i c a l p u r p o s e s and use methods w h i c h p r o v i d e f o r how t h e y meet t h e r e q u i r e m e n t s o f t h o s e p u r p o s e s . . . Thus we can l o o k a t t h e ways i n w h i c h t h e c h a r a c t e r o f a f a c t u a l a c c o u n t i s s h a p e d by t h e e n t e r p r i s e o f w h i c h i t i s a p a r t . ( S m i t h , 1976b:2)  she  - 76 -  CHAPTER FOUR CONCLUSION  Two  accounts  the p r e v i o u s  of  " S o u r c e s o f News" were p r e s e n t e d  chapter.  form of d e s c r i p t i o n ; develop and  an  account  provides  Here we  will  proceed,  and  an  The the  first  a  alternative  the  c h a r a c t e r o f an  to conventional  to  explication  description.  t h e methods by w h i c h t h e  c o n s i d e r the  conventional  s e c o n d i s an a t t e m p t t o b e g i n  w h i c h has  review  illustrates  in  two  i m p l i c a t i o n s o f the  accounts  explicative  method.  I t w o u l d be the in  helpful  f e a t u r e s o f the t h i s paper.  references actuality  referencing  the  reviewing  briefly  d e s c r i p t i v e method t h a t have been d i s c u s s e d  They a r e :  the w o r l d , on  t o b e g i n by  t h a t the  descriptive  method  t h a t i s i t presumes t h a t t h e r e i s an  other  the w o r l d  1)  s i d e of the there  account;  i s what has  2)  that i n  been c a l l e d  a  process  o f t r a n s f e r e n c e , i n w h i c h an  o b j e c t i v e character i s attached  t o t h e phenomenon as  c h a r a c t e r , and  i t s own  which  obscures  t h e p r a c t i c e s w h i c h b r i n g t h e phenomenon i n t o b e i n g ; that  t h e phenomenon i s r e p r e s e n t e d  social  relation  as e x i s t i n g  i n w h i c h i t i s c o n s t i t u t e d as  and  externally known.  3) to  the  -  Both  accounts,  the world.  77  -  I w o u l d s u g g e s t , p r o c e e d by  They b o t h presume t h a t  beyond the a c c o u n t :  them as  factual  However, I w o u l d a r g u e  does e x h i b i t  the r e m a i n i n g  two  tip  as  first  account  something  telephone.  to  t h a t w h i l e the f i r s t  characteristics  w h i c h comes i n t o  and In  t h e newsroom o v e r  an a c c o m p l i s h e d  " . . . a phone t i p i s a c a l l "There  does  the f i r s t  "makes s e n s e "  excludes her  In  not.  the  originally  fact;  i t makes  r o u t i n e s as a b a s i s on  which g i v e s the  a r e a number o f r o u t i n e  t h i s way  account  the  summarize, o r e x t r a p o l a t e t o t h e p r o d u c t o f t h o s e  work o f c o n s t i t u t i n g It  of  account  I n d o i n g s o , i t t r a n s f o r m s what was  o f a knowledge o f p r a c t i c a l  Thus  was  o f s o u r c e s o f news r e p r e s e n t s a phone  a s e t o f work r o u t i n e s i n t o use  This i s  a c c o u n t s , as  c o n v e n t i o n a l d e s c r i p t i v e method, t h e s e c o n d  The  actuality  woman, phone, t y p e w r i t e r , e t c .  p a r t o f what c o n s t i t u t e s discussed.  t h e r e i s an  referencing  account  also  a phone t i p as  of the s e t t i n g  routines.  newspaper...",  sources of l o c a l excludes  which  news...."  the r e a d e r from  the o b j e c t of her  knowledge.  f o r t h e r e a d e r i n a way  that  from i t .  the second  account,  on  t h e o t h e r hand, t h e c h a r a c t e r o f  a phone t i p as a work p r o c e s s i s p r e s e r v e d i n t h e a c c o u n t . account It etc.  the  does n o t t r a n s f e r  i s a s e t of a c t i v i t i e s : It retains  an o b j e c t i v e p i c k up  The  c h a r a c t e r t o a phone t i p .  t h e phone, l i s t e n ,  i t s c h a r a c t e r as a s o c i a l  talk,  accomplishment.  type, Thus  -  78  the second  account  activities  on w h i c h t h e f i r s t  it  comes a b o u t  a tip.  The in  g i v e s the r e a d e r the knowledge o f  that there  I t shows how  activity  of  -  account  depends; t h a t  t h e s e come a b o u t  as t h e p r o d u c t  account  t h e r e a d e r must do  for herself  account  of the reader  t h e work o f l e a r n i n g  o f knowing. to perform i n order  o n l y becomes an a c c o u n t (or o b s e r v e r )  learning She  o f phone t i p s  that  these  must l e a r n  to  locates  The  by  o r g a n i z e d by  the account.  as p a r t o f i t , t h e a c c o u n t  A very u s e f u l colloquium"'"at w h i c h a source  o f news.  social  When she  constitute the  fails  that  This  i s being  to locate  herself  disintegrates.  illustration I presented The  relation  virtue  activities  o r i n h e r method o f o b s e r v i n g t h e phenomenon. the reader i n the  That  to  phenomenon as what i t i s i n h e r method o f r e a d i n g  account,  on  the  t h a t phenomenon as what i t i s .  a r e t h e d o i n g o f phone t i p s . this  the  a l s o does n o t c o n s t i t u t e w h a t goes  o r g a n i z a t i o n w h i c h makes a phone t i p v i s i b l e  second  of  individuals.  second  constitute  i s , how  "are" sources of that there " i s "  t h e newsroom as e x t e r n a l t o t h e r e l a t i o n  is,  practical  account  of t h i s point occurred i n a this  account  drew c r i t i c i s m  o f phone t i p s  as  because i t appeared  to l e a v e out, or r e f u s e t o acknowledge, f e a t u r e s o f  'phone  -'-Colloquium on D e s c r i p t i o n , D e p a r t m e n t o f A n t h r o p o l o g y S o c i o l o g y , U n i v e r s i t y o f B r i t i s h C o l u m b i a , May 1977.  and  tips'  -  and  'news' w h i c h  For  instance,  distinguished or that  seemed o b v i o u s t o t h o s e p r e s e n t on  the account denied t h a t themselves  Those who  n o t see  t o be,  -  by  or  assembled  as a p r a c t i c a l  f o r me  I t i s an a c c o u n t w h i c h  of  in their  listener,  that  problem  i n t h e c o l l o q u i u m was  method t o t h e a c c o u n t . which  applies  treated of did  a s s e m b l i n g a phone t i p and At t h i s  then a t t r i b u t e d  inadequacy  that  series  the reader  (or  i n t h e work  as t h e d o i n g o f phone t i p s . that people d i d not b r i n g t o the account  that  the They  f o r them t h e work  t h e n hand i t t o them.  point,  My  account  the d i s o r g a n i z a t i o n which  t h e y were u s i n g t o u n d e r s t a n d  the  t h e a c c o u n t does d i f f e r  from a c o n v e n t i o n a l d e s c r i p t i o n .  resulted  account  t o t h e a c c o u n t as i t s d i s o r g a n i z a t i o n , This  The  t h e method  i . e . entering  would perform  i n r e p r e s e n t i n g phone t i p s .  demonstrated  aspect of  (which i s , n o t t o e n t e r i t a t a l l ) .  f r o m t h e method w h i c h was  needed  In o r d e r  to p a r t i c i p a t e  They b r o u g h t  i t as an a c c o u n t w h i c h  n o t do t h a t .  a  settings.  to conventional d e s c r i p t i o n ,  account o b j e c t i v e l y ,  that  a crucial  as an a c c o u n t o f phone t i p s ,  of assembling these a c t i v i t i e s  account  matter.  identifies  organizational  or observer) i s r e q u i r e d  matter,  'newsworthy' w h i l e o t h e r s  the account.  to understand  'non-tips'  'news-ness' as s o m e t h i n g  This experience demonstrated  activities  and  o b j e c t e d t o these a s p e c t s of the  'tip-ness'  o r c o u l d be,  'tips'  this occasion.  the n a t u r e o f the s u b j e c t  some t o p i c s were i n h e r e n t l y  were n o t . did  79  or i t s  experience  i n fundamental  ways  - 80 -  It  i s hoped t h a t what has b e e n l e a r n e d  u s e d as a b a s i s  from which t o c o n t i n u e  a method o f a c c o u n t i n g the  character  of the s o c i a l  account o f the o b j e c t  comes in  the s o c i a l l y  i n t o being.  s u c h a way  that  process.  I t locates  i s truly  a c c o u n t makes v i s i b l e that  practices  e x p l i c a t i v e ; that  so t h a t  t h e phenomenon i s i t is  that  (See S m i t h  f o r an e x p l i c a t i v e method g i v e s  prescribes  a method o f o b s e r v a t i o n  procedures  for this  This  kind  i s quite 1976b)  a clear  o f work.  It  which s i n g l e s out language  t o b e g i n ones e n q u i r y .  t o work w i t h  i n a way  descriptions.  of research  how  that  s e t t i n g i n which i t a r i s e s .  indication  on  It  of s o c i o l o g i c a l accounts that are  from c o n v e n t i o n a l  the place  i s , the  on w h i c h i t d e p e n d s .  grounded i n the a c t u a l i t y they d e s c r i b e  as  as  i n t h e a c c o u n t as i t s method.  i n the o r i g i n a l  proposal  by and makes  t h e phenomenon  constituted  This  glosses,  t h e o b s e r v e r and the r e a d e r  i n t h e a c c o u n t i n t h e same manner  different  than  i n w h i c h t h e phenomenon  constituted  suggests the p o s s i b i l i t y  developing  I t p r o m i s e s t o p r o d u c e an  the o r g a n i z a t i o n  organization,  be  The method w h i c h i s  t h e method o f a s s e m b l i n g  what i t i s f o r them i s p r e s e n t  replicates  t h e work o f  o f study which i s organized organized  Such an a c c o u n t  p a p e r may  which e x p l i c a t e s , r a t h e r  proposed here i s a beginning.  visible  i n this  the data provided  I t provides  instructions  i n language, using  a  -  "substructing"  81  procedure which returns  practice  i n which they a r i s e .  detailed  level  the  of  It identifies  Experience working that  i n t h i s way  can  be  example, t h e  us  how  phone t i p s  of  t h e s e phenomena may  explicating is  a corporate  very  the  e.g.  be  the  s i m i l a r i n each case.  'object'  of  the  in  relation  itself.  organization  activities  For  to the t h a t are  instance,  a d d r e s s e d by  context  find  r e s t of the  the  the  the  be  and  d i s t o r t i o n i n the  news.  organization  provides  i s constituted.  The  on  the  method  features  of  which t h e s e terms  depend  necessary to  p a r t i c u l a r object  of  method u s e d t o  t o b e g i n w i t h any  use study  examine feature  ways i n w h i c h i t i s c o n s t i t u t e d  enterprise  i n the  that  aspect  i n t h i s way The  also  allows  the  performance of  working  explicative  or  than the  another important  can  define order  the  of  news i t s e l f ,  Thus i t i s n o t  It i s possible and  level  same, b u t  social organization  a d i f f e r e n t procedure to i s o l a t e  the  produced i n  come i n t o b e i n g  enterprise,  not  from i t s o r g a n i z a t i o n a l  begins to  same p r o c e d u r e w h i c h  method o f u n d e r s t a n d i n g how  newspaper as  extremely  suggests that  u s e d a t any  For  the  working  phenomenon.  o f phenomena. to consider  an  and  a c c o u n t s t h a t must be  to adequately d i s p l a y the  i s one  terms t o t h e  data which i s r e q u i r e d  type of w r i t t e n  procedure  -  practical  organization.  o f news work w h i c h  i s the  problem of  a p p r o a c h works q u i t e  bias  differently  - 82 -  from c o n v e n t i o n a l t o see  how  the  concerns with  conscientious  "objectivity".  p r a c t i c e of  p r o c e d u r e s o f news work l e g i s l a t e s world rather  t h a n an  view i s i n t r o d u c e d routine  features  'phone t i p s ' , through the  ordinary,  i m p a r t i a l , " o b j e c t i v e " view.  the  organization  'stories',  'events',  the  A particular  p r a c t i c e s of c o n s t i t u t i n g  o f news work, s u c h  as  'developments', e t c . ,  p r a c t i c e s which c o n s t i t u t e such r o u t i n e  categories  'labour  as  p r a c t i c a l m a t t e r s w h i c h m e d i a t e between what happens i n what we  determinants of  Paulson  'women's p a g e s ' .  and  as  w o r l d and  news' o r  read  the  i n the  v i e w o f t h e w o r l d we  (1975) has  done an Her  news' t a k e s on  of  the  character  They a r e know as  the  'the  work d e m o n s t r a t e s how 'management news'  r o u t i n e procedures which are  visible the  practical news'.  i n t e r e s t i n g treatment of  news f r o m t h i s p e r s p e c t i v e . the  A l l t h e s e a r e made  newspaper.  us  routine  a p a r t i c u l a r view of  through p r e c i s e l y the  of  the  I t permits  labour 'labour  through  used to produce i t .  B o t h i n i t s p r e s e n t a t i o n and t h e way i t i s d e f i n e d , l a b o u r i s t r e a t e d as i t becomes s i g n i f i c a n t t o t h o s e g r o u p s managing and a d m i n i s t e r i n g i t i n t h i s c o n t e x t , i . e . b u s i n e s s owners and management g r o u p s , t h e c o u r t s , government a g e n c i e s , o f f i c i a l s , e t c . . . T h i s s t r u c t u r i n g o f t h e news r e s u l t s i n t h e e x c l u s i o n o f c e r t a i n c a t e g o r i e s o f e v e n t s and c o v e r a g e o f a l a r g e segment o f t h e work f o r c e n o t i n c l u d e d i n t h e d e f i n i t i o n o f l a b o u r as u n i o n i z e d l a b o u r , i . e . n o n - u n i o n n a t i v e and i m m i g r a n t w o r k e r s , p e n i t e n t i a r y w o r k e r s , e t c . ( P a u l s o n , 1975:26-7)  P a u l s o n ' s work p r o v i d e s it  an  i n d i c a t i o n of  becomes p o s s i b l e t o e x p l o r e  with  the  the  kind  of problem  approach which i s  that  -  proposed  in this  paper.  Thus t h e e x p l i c a t i v e problem of  w i t h w h i c h we  the p r a c t i c e s  I t a l l o w s us  83 -  method a l l o w s us t o r e t u r n  began.  I t makes p o s s i b l e  t o examine t h e p r o d u c t i o n o f f a c t u a l  t h e methods w h i c h a r e u s e d emerges as t h e p r o d u c t .  practices  Smith  knowledge t o examine  only i n sociology,  and  which  stands  documentary  depend t o i n f o r m us and manage o u r  forms o f knowledge come a b o u t  way.  and  I t i s a problem  which o r g a n i z e the w o r l d  a particular as  I t i s not a problem  a l l the forms o f f a c t u a l  knowledge on w h i c h we of these  individuals,  i s organized.  t h a t g i v e d e t e r m i n a t i o n t o what  i n t h e p r o d u c t i o n o f news.  i n b e t w e e n us and  All  examination  by w h i c h o u r k n o w l e d g e o f t h e w o r l d  as a p r a c t i c a l a c t i v i t y o f r e a l  or  an  t o the  Thus t h e y b u i l d  so t h a t  through  lives.  particular  i t c a n be known i n  i n , or i n s t i t u t i o n a l i z e ,  says,  methods o f e x a m i n i n g , i n q u i r i n g i n t o , u n d e r s t a n d i n g , and - i n s h o r t - k n o w i n g t h e w o r l d w h i c h c a n n o t do o t h e r t h a n t h e work f o r w h i c h t h e y were d e s i g n e d namely t o p u t i t t o g e t h e r as an o b j e c t t o be known from [ p a r t i c u l a r ] p o s i t i o n s . . . . (Smith, forthcoming:3)  In  t h i s paper  we  have begun t o see how  work o f s o c i o l o g y , p r o d u c t i o n o f news.  and  how  this  i s the case i n the  t h i s p r o c e s s c a n be  examined i n t h e  -  84 -  BIBLIOGRAPHY Cicourel, 19 68  A a r o n V. The S o c i a l O r g a n i z a t i o n o f J u v e n i l e J u s t i c e , W i l e y & Sons, I n c .  Clement, 19 75  Wallace The C a n a d i a n C o r p o r a t e E l i t e : Power, T o r o n t o : McClelland &  Darnton,  Robert  1975 Epstein, 19 7 3  " W r i t i n g News and E. J . News f r o m Nowhere: Random House I n c .  Errington, 1973  Fishman, 1976 (circa)  An A n a l y s i s o f E c o n o m i c Stewart.  Stories",  Television  and  Daedalus,  t h e News, New  Harold S t u d i e s i n Ethnomethodology, P r e n t i c e = H a l l Inc.  Englewood C l i f f s ,  York:  N.J.:  James D., P h i l l i p E l l i o t t , and Graham Murdoch D e m o n s t r a t i o n s and C o m m u n i c a t i o n : A Case S t u d y , Harmondsworth, M i d d l e s e x : Penguin Books.  Capital,  Volume I , Moscow:  York:  Progress  International Publishers.  Marx, K a r l , and F r e d e r i c k E n g e l s 1970 The German I d e o l o g y , C . J . A r t h u r , e d . , New International Publishers. Molotoch, 1974  (Spring).  B a r b a r a Gene " N e g o t i a t i n g the D e c i s i o n s : What i s a P o l i c e M a t t e r " , U n p u b l i s h e d M a s t e r ' s T h e s i s , Department o f A n t h r o p o l o g y and S o c i o l o g y , U n i v e r s i t y o f B r i t i s h C o l u m b i a .  Marx, K a r l 19 6 3 The P o v e r t y o f P h i l o s o p h y , New Publishers. n.d.  York:  Mark " P r o d u c t i o n o f M e d i a News: How Newsmen C r e a t e S o c i a l F a c t s " , U n p u b l i s h e d d o c t o r a l d i s s e r t a t i o n , Department of S o c i o l o g y , U n i v e r s i t y o f C a l i f o r n i a , Santa B a r b a r a .  Garfinkel, 1967 Halloran, 19 70  Telling  New  York:  H a r v e y , and M a r i l y n L e s t e r "News as P u r p o s e f u l B e h a v i o u r : E v e n t s , A c c i d e n t s and S c a n d a l s " , A m e r i c a n S o c i o l o g i c a l Review V o l . 39.  - 85 -  Paulson, M a r i l e e Reimer 1975 " I d e o l o g i c a l P r a c t i c e i n Labour News Reporting", Unpublished Master's T h e s i s , Department o f Anthropology and S o c i o l o g y , U n i v e r s i t y o f B r i t i s h Columbia. Porter, 1965  John The V e r t i c a l Mosaic: An A n a l y s i s o f S o c i a l C l a s s and Power i n Canada, Toronto: U n i v e r s i t y of Toronto Press.  Report of the S p e c i a l Senate Committee on Mass Media 1970 Ottawa: Queen's P r i n t e r . Schutz, A l f r e d 1970 On Phenomenology and S o c i a l R e l a t i o n s , Helmut R. Wagner (ed.), Chicago: U n i v e r s i t y of Chicago Press. Smith, Dorothy E. 1974a "The I d e o l o g i c a l P r a c t i c e o f S o c i o l o g y " , No. 8, (Winter).  Catalyst,  1974b  "The S o c i a l C o n s t r u c t i o n o f Documentary R e a l i t y " , S o c i o l o g i c a l I n q u i r y , V o l . 44, No. 4.  1976a  T r a n s c r i p t s o f Working Sessions,  1976b  "Notes on D e s c r i p t i o n " , Unpublished Ms., Department of Anthropology and S o c i o l o g y , U n i v e r s i t y o f B r i t i s h Columbia.  1976c  "On Mead and Marx", Lecture presented i n Department of S o c i o l o g y , U n i v e r s i t y o f Toronto.  1977a  "On D e s c r i p t i o n s " presented a t a colloquium i n Department of Anthropology and S o c i o l o g y , U n i v e r s i t y of B r i t i s h Columbia.  1977b  "On D e s c r i p t i o n I I " presented by i n v i t a t i o n , Department of S o c i o l o g y , U n i v e r s i t y o f C a l i f o r n i a , Santa Barbara.  n.d.  "Notes on Mead", Unpublished Ms, Department of Anthropology and S o c i o l o g y , U n i v e r s i t y o f B r i t i s h Columbian.  February and May.  (In Press) "Some I m p l i c a t i o n s o f a S o c i o l o g y f o r Women", accepted f o r p u b l i c a t i o n by Canadian Review o f Sociology and Anthropology.  - 86 -  Tuchman, Gaye 1972 " O b j e c t i v i t y as a S t r a t e g i c R i t u a l : An E x a m i n a t i o n o f Newsmen's N o t i o n s o f O b j e c t i v i t y " , A m e r i c a n J o u r n a l o f S o c i o l o g y , V o l . 77, ( J a n u a r y ) . 1973  "Making News by D o i n g Work: R o u t i n i z i n g the Unexpected", A m e r i c a n J o u r n a l o f S o c i o l o g y , V o l . 78, ( J u l y ) .  1976  "Telling Stories", 26:4 (Autumn).  T u r n e r , Roy (ed.) 1974 Ethnomethodology, Canada L t d .  J o u r n a l o f Communication,  Markham, O n t a r i o :  Penguin  Vol.  Books  Webster, 1977  S y l v i a K. F. 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