ON ETHNDMETHDDOLOGY by BARBARA JEAN FINDLAY BoAo, Queen's University, 1970 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS in the Department of Anthropology and Sociology We accept t h i s thesis as conforming tD the required standard THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA September, 1973 In presenting t h i s thesis i n p a r t i a l f u l f i l m e n t of the requirements for an advanced degree at the University of B r i t i s h Columbia, I agree that the Library s h a l l make i t f r e e l y available for reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensive copying of t h i s thesis for scholarly purposes may be granted by the Head of my Department or by h i s representatives. It i s understood that copying or publication of t h i s thesis for f i n a n c i a l gain s h a l l not be allowed without my written permission. Department of Anthropology and Sociology The University of B r i t i s h Columbia Vancouver 8, Canada Date ZrtfrU. 1. / f 7 3 i ABSTRACT Ethnomethodolagy i s considered in r e l a t i o n to con-ventional sociology; especially uith regard to the epistemo-l o g i c a l c r i t i q u e of conventional sociology made by ethno-mcthodologyo The pretheoretical assumptions of con-ventional sociology are analogous to the pretheoretical assumptions of natural science. Conventional sociology sees i t s e l f as id e n t i f y i n g the causes of the s o c i a l order. Its assumptions are (1) that the s o c i a l world i s analogous to the physical world i n i t s givenness, i t s already-thereness, and (2) that the perceived orderliness of the s o c i a l world i s explicable by s o c i a l laws analogous to physical laws of the natural world. The consequences of these assump-tions are (1) a programme of investigation whose aim i s a hypothetico-deductive explanation, and hence a d i v i s i o n of the world into cause and ef f e c t , and (2) as a r e s u l t , the r e i f i c a t i o n and 1 s c i e n t i f i c a t i o n ' of the s o c i a l world. Ethnomathodologists take the s o c i a l order to be an ongoing accomplishment of i t s members. Within the ethnomethod-o l o g i c a l framework, the documentary method, t y p i f i c a t i o n , and some features of members' accounting practices are considered. Brief consideration i s given to the potential problems for ethnomethodological research. TABLE OF CONTENTS Abstract Acknowledgement On Ethnomethadology Bibliography i i i ACKNOWLEDGEMENT I would l i k e to express my thanks to Dr. Dorothy E. Smith, who introduced me to the conceptual framework of ethnomethodology, and whose insights have been invaluable to me in the preparation of this thesis. -1-The purpose of th i s thesis i s to consider ethno-methodology in relationship to conventional sociology, by ex-amining the pro-theoretical 1 o b j e c t i v i s t 1 stance of con-ventional sociology, and by showing how ethnomethadology systematically questions these assumptions. An attempt w i l l be made to show why othnomethodology abandons the o b j e c t i v i s t stance, and to show how the s o c i o l o g i c a l enterprise looks d i f f e r e n t when done ethnomethodologically. The model for conventional s o c i o l o g i c a l investigation i s the " s c i e n t i f i c " model,. Methods which were f r u i t f u l for research in the natural sciences — p a r t i c u l a r l y physics --were applied to the ' s c i e n t i f i c study of society'„ In th i s kind of sociology, the 'social order' was accepted as a given, and as something which was to be explained, in much the same way that the natural world i s taken as something to be ex-plained in the natural sciences. There are, of course, h i s t o r i c a l reasons why sociology adopted t h i s p a r t i c u l a r form of enquiry. In the early stages of sociology, during the l a t t e r half of the nineteenth century, the natural sciences wore making enormous strides using experi-mental, and p a r t i c u l a r l y mathematical methodologieso The great hope was that sociology could develop as a " s c i e n t i f i c study of society", yielding s o c i a l laws that would explain how society 'functioned' in the way that physics yielded natural laws explaining how the physical world functioned. It i s not new to note that sociology imported not only the methods of the natural sciences, but i t s models. The s o c i a l world was conceived in organic terms. The f u n c t i o n a l i s t school, notably as represented by Merton and Parsons, described the s o c i a l world as i f i t were an organic system. Merton talked about manifest and latent functions, dysfunctions of the system, and so forth; Parsons discussed the functional imper-atives of s o c i a l systems. More recently, sociology has been shaped by other i n -fluences. The current North American c u l t u r a l emphasis on ' s c i e n t i f i c ' solutions of s o c i a l problems has spawned a massive body of research. Sociology then becomes a hand-maiden to the solution Df these s o c i a l problems. The i n t e l -l e c t u a l problems of sociology are the operational problems of government, industry, and so on= A l l of these factors"'' have had a profound influence both on the form and on the content of sociology as a d i s -c i p l i n e ; i t s epistamology, i t s methodology, i t s topics of study. It i s i n s t r u c t i v e to examine the l o g i c a l structure of conventional sociology, and to see how that relates to the s c i e n t i f i c paradigms i t uses. Conventional s o c i o l o g i s t s Even the use of the term 'factors' i s t i e d into the f u n c t i o n a l i s t perspective, multivariate analysis, and the implied causal view of society. -3 -s t a r t with the stubborn, r e c a l c i t r a n t fact that society i s out there, and that i t appears to behave in a more or less orderly fashion. The basic question i s hou t h i s can be so. Again, t h i s i s analogous to the way a natural s c i e n t i s t attempts to account for the regularity and orderliness of the natural world. Con-ventional s o c i o l o g i s t s find themselves faced with the 'results' — an ongoing society; they Get about finding the 1 causes'. Conventional s o c i o l o g i s t s import the natural s c i e n t i s t s ' model of the world.''" Ue s h a l l therefore consider the natural s c i e n t i f i c paradigm. Part of what happens when you give a s c i e n t i f i c explanation of an event i s that you show how i t can be subsumed under some law. The formal structure of a s c i e n t i f i c explanation has three parts: f i r s t , a statement E describing the s p e c i f i c event to be explained; second, a set of statements Cx to Cn describing s p e c i f i c relevant circumstances that are antecedent to, or otherwise causally correlated with, the event described by E; t h i r d , a set of lawlike statements to L n , universal generalizations whose import i s roughly "Uhenever events of the kind described by Ci through C n take place, then an event of the kind described by E takes place." In order for these three sets of statements actually to constitute an explanation of the event, they must f u l f i l l at least two conditions: f i r s t , the E statement must ba deducible from the C and L statements together, but not from either set alone, and second, the C and L statements must be true. A skeleton outline of a s c i e n t i f i c explanation looks l i k e the fallowing: ( J ) Lio..Ln (2) C^ o o .Cn Not only do s o c i o l o g i s t s impart natural s c i e n t i f i c models; they hove also a rather naive view of how natural s c i e n t i s t s themselves proceed. 9 "Richard S. Rudner, Philosophy of Social Science. Prentice-Hall, Englewood C l i f f s , N.3., 1966, p. SO. It i s obvious that, in order to construct E x p l a n a t i o n s bearing t h i s l o g i c a l form, the world must be divided up into causes and effects,. One must be able to make a d i s t i n c t i o n between the conditions or circumstances of an event, or class of events, and the event or class of events themselves. Dn the face of i t t h i s does not appear to be a d i f f i c u l t under-taking., Surely one at least knows what 'E1 i s — what i t i s that must be explained — even i f one i s not sure at the start what the circumstances or conditions of the event may he. However parsing the s o c i a l world in t h i s manner i s not as easy as i t scams to be. It i s not at a l l clear what things are to be constituted as problems (events) to be ex-plained, and what things are to count as circumstances., Consider studies of such topics ao 'alienation', 'power', 'class', 'deviance', and so on. There are almost as many def i n i t i o n s of these terms as there are studies of them, because there are not clear cut ways of recugnizing them as features of the s o c i a l world. How do yau id e n t i f y 'class'? Show me a 'power'o You cannot indicate an alienation in the same sense that you can indicate a table or a flame. At this point I w i l l be accused af an elementary error of false r e i f i c a t i o n . Qf course you cannot 'see' alienation as you can see a table. Alienation (or power, or class, or education) does not have that l o g i c a l status. It must be inferred from the behaviour of people in the society. In th i s way, rathar than comparing 'alienation' to 'table*, in i t s l o g i c a l status, i t i s more appropriately compared with magnetic f i e l d s , which are -5-inferred, but not d i r e c t l y observable, phenomena,. As ue s h a l l see l a t e r , in making th i s argument, con-ventional s o c i o l o g i s t s are using what Garfinkel has ca l l e d the documentary method of inter p r e t a t i o n . Events ars taken to be p a r t i a l , incomplete s i g n i f i c a t i o n s of phenomena, and the so c i o l o g i s t ' s job i s to id e n t i f y hou the indicators stand for the 'real world.' The documentary method characterizes the natural science as u e l l ; however in sociology the problem i s that i t i s never clear, except by methodological d e f i n i t i o n , which s o c i a l facts s h a l l stand for or indicate which other s o c i a l f a c t s . Since the 'phenomena' of s o c i a l science are not con-ventionally taken to be things uhich are observable in the normal run of everyday a f f a i r s , but are rather taken to be 'behind' everyday a f f a i r s , i l l u s t r a t e d and indicated by everyday a f f a i r s , i t i s obviously important to knou how to go about i d e n t i f y i n g the phenomena that the so c i o l o g i s t i s studying. This oftEn takes the form in fact of developing 'indicators' of the phenomenon,, Examples abound. Income, occupation, and education arc often used as indicators of socioeconomic class« Responses to surveys or questionnaires are taken as indicators of psychological a l i e n a t i o n . And so on. The techniques that have been developed to 'got at* s o c i a l phenomena are part of a sophisticated s o c i o l o g i c a l methodology. Suppose, for tho moment, that you have se t t l e d upon a phenomenon in the s o c i a l world that you wish to study. You have delineated the phenomenon in whatever terms are appropriate; that i s , you have indicated how to recognize the phenomenon. You, as a s o c i o l o g i s t , are interested in finding out how to explain the part i c u l a r phenomenon that you are studying. This brings you to l i n e (2) of Rudner's paradigm. If you wish to explain a phenomenon, you must is o l a t e the conditions or circumstances which are associated with i t , and then show how these conditions 'cause' (in the loosest sense of the word) the phenomenon under investigation. In trying to i d e n t i f y conditions which are associated with the phenomenon, one encounters exactly the same problems as there were i n locating the phenomenon i n the f i r s t place. Like 'power', 'alienation', 'status', and so an, the conditions af power, alienation, and status are not out there to be observed as tables and apples are. The enterprise of locating causal conditions i s frequently c a l l e d ' i s o l a t i n g the variables' which cause the phenomenon. It i s absolutely essential to iso l a t e the variables, because otherwise they cannot be analyzed — most especially, they cannot be counted or weighed, or correlated with the incidence of the phenomenon. Serious methodological attention i s paid to getting at 'clean' variables because i n the s o c i a l world i t i s hard to parse out 'factors' which are not themselves associated with other things that the researcher does not want to measure. This i s d i f f i c u l t to da bath t h e o r e t i c a l l y and empirically. In locating causal variables t h e o r e t i c a l l y , one i s again in the business of 'seeing through' the p a r t i c u l a r , everyday b i t s -7-of s o c i a l l i f e , which are always incomplBte, to the 'real' s o c i a l order uhich l i e s behind tho par t i c u l a r incidents., Uhen the t h e o r e t i c a l d i f f i c u l t y i s overcome, one i s s t i l l l e f t uith the empirical problem of devising indicators for the causal conditions, and uays of measuring thorn. 'Causal conditions' l i k e ssx, age, and so on are seen as r e l a t i v e l y easy to measureo Variables l i k o inner-directsdncss, author-itarianism, and so forth are much harder to got at. Sociology i s not generally concerned uith explaining s p e c i f i c , i s o l a t e d events, but rather uith explaining events or phsnomena 'of a type'. For example, a so c i o l o g i s t may be talking about r i t e s of passage. He may oven use a s p e c i f i c event, such as a high school graduation, as a par t i c u l a r example of a r i t o of passage* However, tho features uhich he describes are features he takes to be t y p i c a l of high-school-graduations -as - r i t e s -of -pass age- in-genaral. Social situations have the unfortunate quality of being unique. One cannot recreate a s o c i a l s i t u a t i o n (even a simple one) i n the same uay that one can re p l i c a t e an experiment in the natural sciences. In order to cope uith tho intrusive i d i o s y n c r a t i c properties of s o c i a l situations, researchers design studios with largo numbers of 'examples' (as for example, s rch). The cases to be included are selected randomly, the theory being that i f one randomizes the i d i o s y n c r a t i c variables they w i l l , in the end, cancel each other out. Thus researchers deal with ths obstinate idiosyncracios of s o c i a l situations by attempting, method--8 • l o g i c a l l y , to eliminate thenio Let us suppose again that the researcher has sur-mounted every obstacle thus f o r . She has located, theoret-i c a l l y and uiith empirical indicators, the phenomenon she wishes to examine (E). She has s i m i l a r l y devised t h e o r e t i c a l and p r a c t i c a l procedures for i s o l a t i n g the causal variables (C-^.ocC^) which she hypothesizes to be linked to her phenomenon., She i s now at l i n e (1) of Rudner's paradigm. Of course, she has selected her variables c a r e f u l l y , and with a p a r t i c u l a r theory in mind, since E i s not implied by C^....Cn, the re-searcher i s l e f t with sn unrelated and unrelatable conglomer-ation of 'phenomena*. What kind of t h e o r e t i c a l link i s used most often by s o c i o l o g i s t s to provide the necessary explan-atory link between E end C.....C ? I n This question has been discussed by Wilson in his a r t i c l e "Normative and Interpretive Paradigms"."1" A paradigm, 2 following Kuhn's usage , i s a set of pretheoretical assumptions underlying research. Wilson describes the paradigm underlying conventional sociology as the normative paradigm. "The normative paradigm consists of two major orienting ideas: interaction i s e s s e n t i a l l y rule governed, and s o c i o l o g i c a l explanation should properly take the deductive form character-Thomas Wilson, "Normative and Interpretive Paradigms", in Jack Douglas (ed.) Understanding Everyday L i f e . London, Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1970. '"Thomas Kuhn, The Structure of Sc i e n i t i f i c RevolutIons. Chicago, University of Chicago Press, 1962. -9-i s t i c of natural s c i o n c B o " The deductive form of natural science inquiry, as we have seen, takes the form L » C ^ o , C n imply E, uhere L i s tho law or laws linking the causal con-ditions (C^oooC n) with the phenomenon or event E» In any par t i c u l a r instance of an explanation, one must iso l a t e E and C^„..C n, andone must also provide a l a u - l i k e E X E J J ? ^ Ci.ooCn and E, Otherwise tho association between the 'conditions' and the 'phenomenon' i s simply coincidental — oven i f the association i s expressed as + . 99 correlation between C l 0 , 0 C and E. It i s Wilson's 1 n point; interaction i s seen as es s e n t i a l l y rule-governed. This provided a theorstic lin k between the conditions and the phenomenon., The researcher i s l e f t then to fi n d out what rules i n a s i t u a t i o n are the relevant ones, Wilson notes that such rules are often described in terms of r o l e s . In tho major current t h e o r e t i c a l approaches in sociology, the relevant features of a pattern of action are accounted for ultimately in terms of dispositions that have been acquired by the i n -dividual, such as attitudes, sentiments, con-ditioned responses, and need dispositions, on the one hand, and sanctioned expectations to which the ind i v i d u a l i s subject, on the other. In common so c i o l o g i c a l terms, such sanctioned expectations are c a l l e d role expectations, and an organized sot of role expectations applying to a parti c u l a r actor i s formed a status,,,. As Inkoles and Homans have noted, in order to account for patterns of action in terms of d i s -positions and Expectations i t i s necessary to adopt, i m p l i c i t l y or e x p l i c i t l y , a model of the actor that indicates how dispositions aro acquired Wilson, Loc, c i t , , p, 5 9 , -10-and m o d i f i e d and hou tho a c t o r ' s d i s p o s i t i o n s are r e l a t e d t o o b s e r v e d a c t i o n ( f o r example, t h a t a c t o r s seek t o o p t i m i z e g r a t i f i c a t i o n , or t h a t they r o p e a t r e i n f o r c e d a c t i o n s , and a v o i d those t h a t hove been p u n i s h e d ) , Tho i n t e r a c t i o n o b served i n any p a r t i c u l a r s i t u a t i o n , t h e n , i s accounted f o r by i d e n t i f y i n g s t r u c t u r e s o f e x p e c t a t i o n s and complexes o f d i s p o s i t i o n s such t h a t a c t o r s h a v i n g the p r o p e r t i e s s p e c i f i e d i n the t h e o r i s t ' s model mould s e t i n t h a o bserved manner whan s u b j e c t t o t h e s e d i s p o s i t i o n s and e x p e c t a t i o n s , .o , ,Common to t h s n o t i o n o f both e x p e c t a t i o n and d i s p o s i t i o n i s the i d e a o f a s t a b l e l i n k a g e between the s i t u a t i o n o f an a c t o r and h i s a c t i o n i n t h a t s i t u a t i o n . In the case o f a d i s p o s i t i o n , the l i n k a g e i s a tendency f o r the a c t o r t o behave i n some d e f i n i t e f a s h i o n i n a p a r t i c u l a r s i t u a t i o n . In the caso of an e x p e c t a t i o n , the l i n k a g e i s an i m p e r a t i v e s u p p o r t e d by s a n c t i o n s : the a c t o r s h o u l d behave i n some s p e c i f i e d way i n a g i v e n s i t u a t i o n and w i l l b o rewarded f o r complying or p u n i s h e d f o r not c o m p l y i n g . Such a l i n k a g e , whether i t i s a d i s p o s i t i o n or an e x p e c t a t i o n , may be c a l l e d a r u l e , and can be r e p r e s e n t e d by an o r d e r e d p a i r ( 3 , A ) , whore S i s a s p e c i f i e d s i t u a t i o n and A i s a p a r t i c u l a r a c t i o n l i n k e d t o S by a d i s p o s i t i o n or e x p e c t a t i o n . In s o c i o l o g i c a l terms, a d i s p o s i t i o n i s 3 r u l e t h a t has boon l e a r n e d or i n t e r n a l i z e d , w h i l e an e x p e c t a t i o n i s a r u l e t h a t has been i n s t i t u t i o n a l i z e d i n o s o c i a l s ystem, w i t h i n the n o r m a t i v e paradigm, i n t e r a c t i o n pX^ajgtion i s r e n d e r e d i n t a l ' l T g i b l e and i s e x p l a i n e d by r e f e r r i n g t o r u l e s i n the form of d i s p o s i t i a n s and e x p e c t a t i o n s t o which a c t o r s are s u b j e c t T i " W i l s o n ' s o r d e r e d p a i r (S,A) f a l l o w s tho l o g i c a l p a r a -digm o u t l i n e d e a r l i e r o f C, ,.,C and E. S o c i o l o g i s t s have used i n the n o t i o n of i n t e r a c t i o n os r u l e - g o v e r n e d t o s u p p l y tho e s s e n t i a l t h e o r e t i c a l l i n k between the c o n d i t i o n ( o r s i t u a t i o n ) and the phenomenon to bo e x p l a i n e d ( o r the a c t i o n ) . T h i s i s a n o t i o n which i s u s u a l l y not i t s e l f f u l l y e x p l i c a t e d , and o f t e n W i l s o n , l o c , c i t , , p, 59-60, I t a l i c s mine. -11-doEs not even appear in the s o c i o l o g i s t 1 s argument except in a truncated form. Ue have seen that the programme of conventional sociology i s to deal uith the s o c i a l uorld, or the uorld of meaningful a c t i v i t y (Wilson), in a ' s c i e n t i f i c ' manner, uhere ' s c i e n t i f i c ' means in conformity uith the deductive form of explanation. The consequences of adapting t h i s programme are inescapable: one must be able to divide.the uorld unambiguously into uhat s h a l l count as events, uhat s h a l l be treated as (at least hypothetically) causal conditions, and f i n a l l y one must be able to aupply a l i n k i n g p r i n c i p l e or lau ta explain hau C^...Cn are linked uith E» Each of these steps has been elaborated above, though only b r i e f l y and incompletely. In fact, the programme as i t has been outlined sounds unuieldy and F i l m o s t impassible ta carry out, Methodologists u i l l cry out in j u s t i f i e d rage at the ineptness of the description of the research enterprise. Houevar part of the reason that the programme appears clumsy and d i f f i c u l t i s that i t i s just that. The adoption of a deductive paradigm of explanation commits one to causes and e f f e c t s , and to generating laus to connect the causes and the e f f e c t s . Of course, not a l l s o c i o l o g i s t s are equally successful in f o l l o u i n g this paradigm of explanation. And i t must be noted that the description of the explanation paradigm i s not a description of research methods, and certainly does not describe hou one goes about research i n any stepuise, temporal -12-uays. But no matter hou closely the end analysis resembles the deductive form, the deductive form i s always the model, and research i s c r i t i c i z e d i n terms of hou u e l l i t conforms to this modelo It i s obvious uhat the methodological consequences of the adoption D f the deductive paradigm are for the s o c i a l sciences.. They involve the r e f i n i n g of concepts to make them 'testable 1; the elaboration of methods to eliminate i d i o -syncratic variables; a continued e f f o r t to make sure that the explanatory variables are not spurious variables; and an on-going attempt to ensure that measurements, both o f the phen-omenon i t s e l f , and of the 'causal variables' are v a l i d and r e l i a b l e measurements. Research may be more or less mathe-matical: uhere the research i s s t a t i s t i c a l l y based, such concerns are related to the appropriate kinds of s t a t i s t i c a l operations uhich may or must be performed on the data. Even i f the research i s not mathematically designed, houever, the researcher must be able to shou hou she has located the phenomenon and the variables — uhat kind of 'indicators* she has used — so that others may use her indicators to locate similar phenomena. A b r i e f exposition of conventional s o c i o l o g i c a l tech-niques has been necessary to indicate hou a commitment to a deductive paradigm inescapably involves one i n that kind of enterprise, uith i t s attendant methodological problems. Seen from u i t h i n conventional sociology, these problems are obstacles to be surmounted by better, more adequate research -13-techniques. The problems are not seen as being inherent i n the nature of the enterprise. It i s here that ethnomethodologists have taken issue with conventional sociology. It i s their contention that the deductive paradigm i s an inappropriate model for s o c i o l o g i c a l research because, once within that epistemological frame, one i s faced with problems which cannot be resolved within that frame. To see how this i s so, i t w i l l be necessary to re-examine the programme of conventional sociology. To begin at the beginning: the s o c i o l o g i s t ' s 'model' of the s o c i a l world as being out there and needing explanation. This i s an ordinary, common sense assumption. In some sense, the s o c i a l order i s a 'given', and what must be understood are the reasons that i t i s the way i t i s . If t h i s i s examined a l i t t l e more closely, i t i s no longer so easy to see what i s meant by saying that the s o c i a l order i s out there. Husserl uses the term 'natural attitude' to describe our ordinary, unpremeditated ways of dealing with the s o c i a l and natural world. I f i n d continually present and standing over against me the one spatio-temporal fact-world to which I myself belong, as do a l l other men found in i t and related in the same way to i t . This 'fact-world' as the word already t e l l s us, I f i n d to be out there, and also take i t just as i t gives i t s e l f to me as something that exists out there. A l l doubting and rejecting of the data of the natural world leaves standing the general thesis of the natural standpoint. 'The' world i s a fact-world already there; at the most i t i s at odd paints 'other' than I had supposed, t h i s or that under such names as 1 i l l u s i o n ' , ' h a l l u c -ination', and the l i k e , must be stuck out of i t , -14-so ta speak; but the ' i t ' remains ever, i n the sense of the general thesis, a world that has i t s being out there.1 •ne i s born into an already-given world: and the world i s already-given not only in i t s physical form, but i t s s o c i a l forms as well, Schutz says: This world i s always given to me from the f i r s t as an organized one. I was, so to speak, born into t h i s organized s o c i a l world and I grew up in i t . Through learning and education, through experiences and experiments of a l l kinds, I acquire a certain i l l - d e f i n e d knowledge of t h i s world and i t s i n s t i t u t i o n s . Above a l l I am interested in the objects of this world in so far as they determine my own orientation, as they further or hinder the r e a l i z a t i o n of my own plans, as they constitute an element of my s i t u a t i o n , which I have to accept or modify, as they are a source of my happiness or uneasiness — in a word, in so far as they mean anything to me.2 •r again, from Schutz: Each of us, so i t seems, has naively organized his s o c i a l world and his daily l i f e in such a way that he finds himself the center of the s o c i a l cosmos surrounding him. Or, better, he was already born into an organized s o c i a l cosmos. For him i t i s a cosmos and i t i s organized in so far as i t contains a l l the comfortable equip-ment to render his daily l i v i n g and that of his fellow-men a routine motter. There are, on the other hand, i n s t i t u t u i a n s of various kinds, tools, machines, etc; on the one hand, habits, t r a d i t i o n s , rules and experiences, both actual and vicarious. Furthermore, there i s a scale of systematized relations which everyone has with his fellowmen, sta r t i n g from the relations with members of his immediate family, relations with kinsmen, with personal friends, with people he knows personally, with people he met once in his This quotation i s taken from Douglas, in Douglas, op, c i t , , p, 15. 2 Alfred Schutz, Collected Papers, Vol, I I , Studies i n Social Theory, Mortinus Nijhoff, 1964, p„ 9. -15-l i f e , through relations uith those anonymous men uho uork somewhere and in a uay he cannot imagine; but uith the result that the l e t t e r he puts into the p i l l a r box reaches the addresses in time, and that his lamp i s l i t by the turn of a switch.1 The 'natural attitude' i s the attitude of members uho must act within the world. Here, of course, attitude i s not to be taken as sentiment, but as an epistemological stance to the world. In the ordinary run of a f f a i r s , the world presents i t s e l f most of a l l as that which we must do something about. Our 'knowledge of the world' i s generated by our projects in the world. My knowledge of the world i s an always-incomplete knowledge, which has me as i t s centre. If for h e u r i s t i c purposes you thought of a ' c i r c l e of knowledge', i t s centre i s direct experience of and knowledge of the world; towards the periphery knowledge i s i n d i r e c t , vicarious, less complete. Schutz describes t h i s i n his discussion of t y p i f i c a t i o n s : our knowledge of the world i s on a continuum which has on one end experiences which are immediate and v i v i d , and hence knowledge which i s di r e c t ; and which on i t s other end shades into i n -direct experience and knowledge which i s based on t y p i -f i c a t i o n s . ^ Since our direct experience of the world i s extremely Ibid., p. 70. 2 There i s a problem with Schutz' concept of t y p i f i c a t i o n , in that i t does not ea s i l y account for our use of t y p i f i c a t i o n s in face to face s i t u a t i o n s . Certainly my perceptions of A in a face to face s i t u a t i o n are modified by what I have heard about A, or have previously learned of her: then my t y p i f i c a t i o n s of A mediate my face to face perceptions of^ her. Schutz' conception of t y p i f i c a t i o n s does not account for t h i s mediation of direct perception. -16-limited, r e l a t i v e to the whole of human existence, our direct knowledge i s minute compared to our i n d i r e c t , t y p i f i e d knowledge. I am but one person among a l l the human beings who l i v e and have ever l i v e d in the world. My common-sense understanding of the world cannot possibly be 'accurate' or 'objective'. How, then, can there be correct knowledge of the s o c i a l world? This was and i s the problem which conventional sociology faces, though not in those terms. Since no i n d i v i d u a l could know the whole s o c i a l structure, the problem was how to develop an 'objective' s o c i a l science which would describe the s o c i a l order without a subjective bios. Such a commitment involves a s h i f t i n one's epistemological stance. Douglas c a l l s t h i s stance of one engaged in trying to describe society objectively the 'absolutist' or ' o b j e c t i v i s t ' stance. Thus the early s o c i a l s c i e n t i s t s adopted a conscious policy of studying man in the same way one would study any physical object. Having presupposed these methods "of natural science-" , they adopted the stance most in accord with them. They adopted the absolutist perspective on man and society. That i s , they viewed man as an abject, causally de-termined ( t o t a l l y ) by forces outside of his s e l f . In accord with this perspective, they adapted an absolutist (or o b j e c t i v i s t ) stance toward everyday l i f e . They assumed that the phenomena of everyday l i f e could and should be studied only in terms of clear and d i s t i n c t ( s c i e n t i f i c ) formal categories defined by them in advance of their studies. They assumed that these categories should be both i n -dependent of and i n opposition to the common-sense categories of men in everyday l i f e . They assumed that a l l decisions about how one would decide that his r e s u l t s were true or fal s e could and should be made in advance of studies of the everyday phenomena ....In general, the absolutist stance subsumed the -17-everyday world under the methods of science, and, in doing so, i t s users never r e a l i z e d that the everyday phenomena they observed were s c i e n t i f i e d phenomena.1 We can see, then, that two of the pretheoretical assumptions of conventional sociology are (1) that the s o c i a l world exists as an already-given, analogous to the way the physical world exists for natural science and (2) the common-sense understanding of people i n the s o c i a l world i s sean to be degenerate, incomplete, and frequently erroneous, and the defects of the common-sense knowledge can be remedied only by an objective examination of the s o c i a l world. The f i r s t assumption i s c h a r a c t e r i s t i c of the natural attitude: the world i s encountered as on already-given i n one's everyday l i f e . Think of i t t h i s way. The s o c i a l world i s out there. I know i t i s because I have to deal with i t . I encounter i t as something which i s obstinately there. I learn about the world in dealing with i t — d i r e c t l y , through my own exper-iences with i t , and i n d i r e c t l y , through what other people t e l l me about it= But I soon r e a l i z e that my knowledge, since i t i s necessarily limited by my biography, i s incomplete and at least possibly incorrect. I want to know how the s o c i a l world r e a l l y i s . I r e a l i z e that, just as my information i s necessarily limited and inaccurate, so w i l l any other i n -dividual's information ba. So I must fi n d some way of gathering information which does not depend on, and in fact corrects, both my own and others' i n d i v i d u a l rnisperceptions. Then I Douglas, i n Douglas (ed.), op. c i t . , p. 113-114. -18-might, as conventional sociology does, develop an "objective 1 methodology to study the 'real' s o c i a l world. It i s clear that tha intention af a b j e c t i v i s t sociology i s ta remedy the imperfect and degenerate nature of one's personal knowledge of the s o c i a l structure by attempting to remove the 'subjective' interpreter. The attempt to get 'pure' knowledge of the s o c i a l structure i s made by trying to locate the information otherwhere thon in an observer's head. Objective methods are r e l i e d upon to provide the data. Such reliance has taken, f i r s t l y , the form of an elaborate mathe-matical methodology, and secondly, an exhortation to the analyst to keep her analyses value-free. In th i s contaxt the analyst i s seen i d e a l l y as someone who collates the data: in some sense the 'facts' are meant to speak for themselves. Stating the case as baldly and as s i m p l i s t i c a l l y as thi s makes the connection between the natural attitude and the o b j e c t i v i s t stance more obvious. They do, in fact, have everything i n common: the assumption that the s o c i a l world exists as a given, beyond one's experience or p o s s i b i l i t y of experience. The s c i e n t i f i c s o c i o l o g i s t s t a r t s with the assumption that the world, the s a c i a l order, exists for her to study. Some of the problems of th i s assumption have already been discussed in connection with the s c i e n t i f i c paradigm of sociology. The o b j e c t i v i s t s o c i o l o g i s t , having assumed the s a c i a l world as a given, must divide i t up into conditions and consequences. This involves postulating a s a c i a l order which -19-i s behind the uorld as i t i s experienced., In this uay p a r t i c -ular events can be seen as p a r t i c u l a r examples and incidents of a class of events. Harold Garfinkel c a l l s t h i s procedure the 'documentary method'. According to Mannheim, the documentary method involves the search for 'an i d e n t i c a l homologous pattern underlying a vast variety of t o t a l l y d i f f e r e n t r e a l i z a t i o n s of meaning'. The method consists of treating an actual appearance as 'the document o f , as 'pointing t o 1 , as 'standing on behalf o f a presupposed underlying pattern. Not only i s the underlying pattern derived from i t s documentary evidences, but the i n d i v i d u a l documentary evidences, in t h e i r turn, are interpreted on the basis of 'uhat i s known' about the underlying pattern. Each i s used to elaborate the other. The method i s recognizable for the everyday necessities of recognizing uhat a person i s 'talking about', given that he does not say exactly uhat he means, or in recognizing such common occurrences and objects as mailmen, fri e n d l y gestures, and promises. It i s recogniz-able as u e l l in deciding such s o c i o l o g i c a l l y analyzed occurrences of events as Goffman's strategies for the management of impressions, Erickson's identi t y c r i s e s , Riesman's types of conformity, Parsons' value systems, Malinowski's magical practices, Bales' interaction counts, Merton's types of deviance, Lazarsfeld's latent structure of attitudes, and the U.S. Census' occupatianal categories. 1 The documentary method i s c h a r a c t e r i s t i c of the a c t i v -i t i e s both of members and of s o c i o l o g i s t s . It i s a pervasive, unavoidable feature of the way we make sense D f the world. But Garfinkel argues that the attempt by D b j e c t i v i s t sociology to generate knowledge about the world which i s unbiased by Harold Garfinkel, Studies in Ethnomethodology, Prentice-H a l l , Inc., Engleuood C l i f f s , N.J., p. 78. -20-removing the subject and substituting 'procedural rules' far gathering infcrmatian, cannot ever succeed, because there i s no way to construct data gathering procedures, administer such procedures, or analyze data generated by them, without rely i n g at every point and i n a fundamentally necessary way on common-sense knowledge of s a c i a l structure. To got hold of what i s meant by the notion of docu-mentary interpretation i s d i f f i c u l t , because documentary i n t e r -pretation io such a fundamental feature of our thought pro-cesses that i t i s d i f f i c u l t to recognize. In our everyday l i f e we treat the s o c i a l world as i t i s presented to us as 'complete' in the sense that we are regularly supplied with enough information to 'make sense o f what i s presented to us. This however i s on inaccurate formulation: we regularly make do with the information we hove at hand, because we operate on tho assumption that i t is_ s u f f i c i e n t information to allow us to form an (operationally) complete idea of what i s going on. Our information i s seen as adequate-for-all-practical-purposes. This assumption i s what enables us to understand and act on fragmentary conversations, e l l i p t i c a l references, encounters with strangers, and sa an. We take what i s given as instances-of: i . e . we deal with the world in t y p i f i e d fashion, and we assume that others do the same. Let us examine one type of t y p i f i c a t i o n in the world, our a b i l i t y to recognize, t y p i f y , and thus deal with the other people we encounter. The most exhaustive discussion of t h i s process i s Schutz' chapter on "The Dimensions of the Social -21-Uorld". A l l aur direct knouledge of the s o c i a l uorld o r i g -inates in face-to-face relationships uith other people. Being-uith-others i s a fundamental, a p r i o r i feature of human existence. It i s only uhen I am engaged d i r e c t l y uith another person i n a face-to-face s i t u a t i o n , and only then so long as I do not stop to r e f l e c t on the s i t u a t i o n , that I can experience another person d i r e c t l y (Schutz' "pure Ue-relation'). There i s not a simple dichotomy betueen experiences of the Other uhich are direct i n the pure Ue-relation, and those uhich are not. It i s not simply a matter of uhether the Other occupies the same space and time as I do. Rather the Ue-r e l a t i o n i s characterized by d i f f e r e n t degrees of intimacy or casualness, involvement or non-involvement, i . e . different degrees of directness. Schutz describes, and I u i l l not, the structure of the IjJe-relation. It i s s u f f i c i e n t here to note that the Ue-relation ( i . e . face-to-face interaction) i s the primordial experience of the Other, and i t i s t h i s experience uhich constitutes the uorld for me as an intersubjective uorld.^ Uhat i s more germane here i s nou the t r a n s i t i o n i s made from direct to i n d i r e c t experience of s o c i a l r e a l i t y . For Schutz, the shading of the degrees of directness of my ^"Alfred Schutz, Collected Papers volume I I : Studies in Soc i a l Theory. The Hague, Martinus IMijhoff, 196'+. 2 Ibid., p. 27-36. -22-experiencs of the Other uhich characterizes the pure Lde-re l a t i o n also characterizes my relations uhich are not d i r e c t . As I am s i t t i n g here alone, u r i t i n g t h i s , everyone i n the uorld i s outside my direct experience. But there i s a d i f f e r -ence in the "distance" betueen me and a l l of those Others, Some people in the uorld are much more accessible to me than others, because of the geographical, p o l i t i c a l , r a c i a l , economic, etc., features of my sit u a t i o n i n the uorld. Thus i t uould be easier for me to i n i t i a t e or restore face-to-face relations uith same people i n the uorld than uith others. But the people I have knoun are only a very feu of the people nou outside my direct experience. There are also those uho are not nou, and have never been, in my direct experience — those people I have never met. Of these, there are my con-temporaries (those uho l i v e or have l i v e d at the same time as I ) , my predecessors (the uhole of human history before me) and my successors (everyone uho u i l l come after me). Obviously the chain of predecessors, contemporaries, and successors i s aluays r e l a t i v e to one's biography. Those people are only i n -d i r e c t l y knoun to me. My r e l a t i o n to the uarld i s thus con-ditioned both by my physical and my temporal location in i t . There i s thus a shading from direct to in d i r e c t exper-ience of people in my l i f e , "The gradations D f directness can also be i l l u s t r a t e d by the series ranging from a con-versation face-ta-face, to a conversation by phone, to an exchange of l e t t e r s , to a message transmitted by a t h i r d party. TThis + shous a progressive decrease in the uealth of symptoms -23-by uhich I experience my partner and a progressive narrowing of the perspectives in which my partner appears to me. Uhile we may legitimately distinguish between direct and indirect experiences of s o c i a l r e a l i t y , we must r e a l i z e that these are polar concepts between which exist many concrete t r a n s i t i o n a l forms . 1 1 Schutz explains how, in contrast to my direct experienc of the Other which i s c h a r a c t e r i s t i c of the Ue-relation, my knowledge of my contemporaries (and predecessors and successors i s always in d i r e c t and mediated. My contemporaries are known to me only as 'them'; hence, Schutz c a l l s my orientation to my contemporaries the "They-orientatian". Uhereas I experience the i n d i v i d u a l Thou d i r e c t l y i n the concrete Ue-relation, I apprehend the contemporary only mediately, by means of t y p i f i c a t i o n s . - ~~ © o o o o o a In contrast to the way I experience the conscious l i f e of fellow-men in face-to-face situations, the experiences of contemporaries appear to me as more or less anonymous processes. The abject af the They-nrientation i s my knowledge af s o c i a l r e a l i t y in general, of the conscious l i f e of other human beings in general, regardless of whether the l a t t e r i s imputed to a single i n d i v i d u a l or not. The object of the They-orientation i s not the existence of a concrete man, ncrt the ongoing conscious l i f e of a fellow-man which i s d i r e c t l y experienced i n the Ue-relation, not the subjective configuration of meaning which I apprehend i f experiences of a fellow-man constitute themselves before my eyes... My knowledge of the world of contemporaries i s t y p i c a l knowledge of t y p i c a l processes.2 Schutz, op. cit„, p. 42. I t a l i c s h i s . 9 Ibid., p. kko -2k-This i s the essential point., Others exist in the uorld for me, uhen they are not immediately present to me, only as t y p i f i c a t i o n s , or uhat Schutz c a l l s 'personal i d e a l types'* In dealing uith personal ideal types, ue constitute the Other not in his f u l l uniqueness, but only as he can ba t y p i f i e d by his a c t i v i t y or function, tde_ constitute the personal i d e a l types: that i s , the t y p i f i c a t i o n s are made by us, not by the person(s) t y p i f i e d ; the t y p i f i c a t i o n s ue make are aluays uith relationship to our projects and concerns. It may at f i r s t seem that ue typify only thoss people ue don't knou, or don't knou very u e l l . This i s not true, Ue also t y p i f y people ue knou very u e l l , and uhom ue do not presently see. When I think of my friend Mary, my notion of her i s based on my past experiences uith her, in innumerable di f f e r e n t circumstances. From a l l those experiences I have formed a f a i r l y complete picture of her: that i s , I 'knou her u.ell'. My conception of Mary goes on even i n her absence, and i t uould be very odd i f i t did not. I assume that Mary i s as I knou her to be, and u i l l be so uhen I see her again, even though in the interim Mory and I are both changing, in response to d i f f e r e n t situations, and ue arc not and never can be the same people ue uere the la s t time ue sau each other. My t y p i f i c a t i o n of Mory i s continuously reaffirmed or modified uhen I am uith her. There i s a continual, mutual process of finding out hou each of us i s as ue see hou each of us acts. Our t y p i f i c a t i o n s are continuously being formed. But uhen Mary leaves me, the modification process i s arrested. -25-My conception of Mary, uhich uas formerly a dynamic conception, i s nou, necessarily, a s t a t i c t y p i f ication.''" T y p i f i c a t i o n s l i k e the one I make of Mary are ones Schutz c a l l s 1characterological i d e a l types'. He contrasts these uith functional i d e a l types 'uhich refer to contempor-aries only uith respect to the i r t y p i c a l functions". For i l l u s t r a t i o n ue may again refer to the example of the postal c l e r k . This i d e a l type i s already more anonymous than the characterological, since i t does not refer to the l i f e of an ind i v i d u a l uith uhom I stood, nou stand, or ever u i l l stand in a Ule-relation of any degree of intimacy; even in face-to-face situations I apprehend him as a 'postal clerk'.2 •ur ideas of hou most-people function in our s o c i a l uorld are based even more on t y p i f i c a t i o n s than our ideas of our f r i e n d s . A characterological i d e a l type i s aluays (po t e n t i a l l y ) open to modification and elaboration in a Ue-r e l a t i o n . Ue may again interact uith our friends in a l l t h e i r uniqueness. But uith most-people that option i s not open to us. Ue are auare of them only mediately, through th e i r functions or their t y p i c a l uays of behaving. For example, I arn auare' of the postal employees of Vancouver only insofar as my l e t t e r s are (or are not) picked up and delivered by them. For me they are completely anonymous and exist only in t h e i r function. And yet, i t i s not a matter of their not "Ibid, p. 50. 'Cf. footnote, p. 11, -26-e x i s t i n g . I posit t h e i r existence as a necessary pre-ccnditian of the delivery of my mail, I assume that they exist though I may only ever meet one (or perhaps none) of them. Of those people I assume uith certainty only (1) that they exist and (2) that they process mail. If questioned, I can supply the s o c i a l uorld 'behind' my uorld as people uho have made my rug, uho have b u i l t t h i s building, uhD have sent me c i r c u l a r s , uho have printed the neuspapers and uho have enacted the events reported i n the neuspapers, I recognize rny uorld as a s a c i a l uorld; I 'see behind' my immediate experience and 'knou' that there are many others uho exist and uho perform many and various functions. Both the evidence and proof of those people's existence, for me, i s i n my direct experience — that I may go to Hudson's Bay and buy a lamp or a pair of shoe-laces; that I may send a telegram; that I may attend a university, I assume an orderly s o c i o l uorld to account for the orderliness of my experience: and this i s a pre-th e o r e t i c s l assumption of sociology in the same sense that the postulate of an orderly, l a u f u l uorld i s a pretheoretical assumption of natural science, I am emphatically not c a l l i n g into question these t y p i f i c a t i o n s of the uorld as dubious kinds of knouledge. Rather I uant to point out the consequences of seeing the uorld in th i s manner. The point to be emphasized i s that ue inf e r a stable, ordered uorld, as an operating assumption, We necessarily deal uith the s o c i a l uorld in the form of t y p i -f i c a t i o n s of i t . Such t y p i f i c a t i o n s have the character of being -27-s t a t i c ; they may vary from being highly concrete and detailed (as i n characterological ideal types) to being abstractions in terms of people's functions of t y p i c a l actions (as i n functional i d e a l types). The t y p i f i c a t i o n s are formed by us; they are grounded in our experience and are necessary post-ulates to account for the existence and the form of the uorld ue f i n d around us, so long as ue approach the uorld in the natural attitude. Typifications vary in t h e i r degree of directness, in t h e i r l e v e l of generality, i n t h e i r completeness, and i n t h e i r saliency: but the variation i n the t y p i f i c a t i o n s i s not inherent i n the uorld, but i s rather r e l a t i v e to every i n d i v i d u a l i n the uorld. I have taken t h i s discussion of t y p i f i c a t i o n as one kind of 'documentary inter p r e t a t i o n ' . The discussion of t y p i f i c a t i o n s , of course, comes largely from Schutz"1', but I have not attempted a complete restatement of his theory of s o c i a l r e l a t i o n s . I think however that my present and sub-sequent analysis complements Schutz' formulations. It i s my vieu that the processes involved in t y p i f i c a t i o n are the same as those involved i n the documentary method; that i s , that t y p i f i c a t i o n s are one type of the documentary method (that uhich has to do uith people). It i s the t y p i f i c a t i o n process, as Schutz describes i t , that enables us to deal u i t h a stable, ordered s o c i a l , unrld. But i t i s t h i s very process of t y p i f i c a t i o n uhich A l f r e d Schutz, Collected Papers Volume II : Studies i n S o c i a l Theory. The Hague, Martinus IMijhoff, 1964. -28-constitutes the s o c i a l uorld as stable and ordered.. This i s the crux: and as ue s h a l l see t h i s also holds true of the documentary method, both i n everyday l i f e and in sociology. Let us refer again to characterological i d e a l types (more simply, my f r i e n d s ) . Ue remarked e a r l i e r that my idea of Mary uas based on, developed from, and subject to modifi-cation i n my direct experiences uith her. Uhen she leaves me, I carry auay an idea of Mary uhich at the moment of her departure ceases to be a changeable idea. I am no longer dealing uith Mary, but uith my idea of Mary: and that i s a l l I s h a l l have to deal uith u n t i l she returns.^ I make pro-dictions of hou Mary u i l l act; I assume that she i s 'the same person' as she uas uhen she l e f t me. Mary does not, as she rounds the corner out of my sight, also ualk into an abyss of unpredictability i n my mind. And I fi n d , as a rule, that uhen Mary returns she i s " e s s e n t i a l l y " the same person that she uas uhen I l a s t sau her — far a l l p r a c t i c a l purposes. The fact that she and I have have both had neu experiences, in other situations, uith d i f f e r e n t people — i n short, that ue are not the "same" people that ue uere uhen la s t ue met, i s discounted 'for a l l p r a c t i c a l purposes'. Uhat ue know of other people Is only a memory of the moments This i s of course the paradigm case. My idea of Mary may be influenced by reports of her from others, by projects uhich she has indicated she u i l l undertake and does or does not f u l f i l l , and so on. I may change my opinion of Mary: but my changed opinion i s s t i l l "about" the s t a t i c image I have formed D f her. -29-During uhich U E kneu them„ And they have changed since then. To pretend that they and ue are the same ^ Is a useful and ccnvenient s o c i a l f i c t i o n . . . . The assumption that people remain b a s i c a l l y the same through time i s fundamental to the uay ue operate in the uorldo Ue describe people as having a personality: that i s , ue bundle together uhat ue knou of others and r e i f y our know-ledge- Lde t y p i c a l l y impute the 'personality* to the other, as i f i t somehou inhered in her, f a i l i n g to see that to treat her as having a personality i s merely to do an extensive t y p i f i c a t i o n of her- hie talk about events happening 'to' people: such a phrase i l l u s t r a t e s the underlying nation that i t i s the person uho remains stable- Yet, again, i t i s such phrases as 'events happen to_ people' uhich both i l l u s t r a t e and constitute people as being acted upon by situations- The usage 'person' or 'people' here i s ambiguous- It i s obvious that i f 'person* means simply one's physical body, that the body extends through space and time and i s ( r e l a t i v e l y ) unaltered. But a d i s t i n c t i o n must be made betueen the simply-physical 'person* and her personality, uhich daes not inhere in her but i s a constructions of other people, being a t y p i f i c a t i o n of her. (She may accept that 'personality' as her oun, but i n doing so she i s r e i f y i n g herself, and ty p i f y i n g her oun action- Mead's 2 discussion of seeing one's s e l f through the eyes of the Other , T. S. E l i o t , The Cocktail Party, Faber and Faber, 1950, p. 72-"George Herbert Mead, On Social Psychology (ed. Anselm Strauss)- Phoenix Books, University of Chicago Press, 1965. -30-and Sartre's discussion of r e l a t i o n s uith the Other in Being and Nothingness^ elaborate the structure af t h i s s e l f - t y p i -f i c a t i a n o ) II Having examined b r i e f l y the o b j e c t i v i s t stance in sociology, and looked at the reasons uhy ethnomethodologists see that stance as being bound to the natural attitude, I s h a l l nou look at hau an ethnomethodologist approaches the s o c i a l uorld. As ue have seen, conventional sociology i s firmly rooted in the natural attitude. Its assumptions are (1) that the s o c i a l uorld i s analogous to the physical uorld in i t s givenness, i t s already-thereness, and (2) that the perceived orderliness of the s a c i a l uorld i s explicable by s o c i a l laus analogous to physical laus of the natural uorld. The con-sequences of the natural attitude i n sociology are (1) a pro-gramme of investigation uhose aim i s a hypothetico-deductive explanation, and hence a d i v i s i o n of the uorld into cause and ef f e c t and (2) as a r e s u l t , the r e i f i c a t i o n and " s c i e n t i f i -cation" of the s o c i a l world, Ethnomethodologists take a r a d i c a l l y d i f f e r e n t stance from that of conventional sociology. The conventional Jean-Paul Sartre, Being and Nothingness. Washington Square Press, 1953, -31-s o c i c l o g i s t 1 s acceptance Df the s o c i a l order as an already-given i s challenged; ethnomethDdologists see the s o c i a l uorld not as a given, but as an ongoing accomplishment of i t s members. The consequence o f t h i s stance i s a programme r a d i c a l l y d i f f e r e n t from conventional sociology. Ethnomethod-ologi s t s take as the i r domain members' practices i n managing or producing a recognizable sense of the s o c i a l structure. In the next section ue s h a l l see hou ethnomethodology i s related to phenomenology; then ue s h a l l examine the results of the ethnomethodological programme, f i r s t u i t h regard to accounting procedures, and then uith regard to the organiz-ation of settings. Just as conventional sociology i s characterized by thE natural attitude toward the s o c i a l uorld, so ethnomethodology i s characterized by the suspension of the natural attitude to the s o c i a l uorld. [Tjhe attitude uhich constitutes the ethnomethod-o l o g i c a l domain d i f f e r s from the attitude of every-day l i f e (the natural attitude) uhich constitutes the domain common both to lay members and con-ventional s o c i o l o g i c a l analysts in a manner akin to the uay that the phenomenological attitude d i f f e r s from the natural attitude. Under the natural attitude, the objects of the domain of everyday l i f e ore believed to exist independently of the mode of inquiry addressed to them. Under the auspices of both the phenomenological and ethnomethodological attitude, houever, the b e l i e f that the objects of t h e i r respective domains are independent of the mode of inquiry used to make the objects observable i s suspended or 'bracketed' ...The domain of phenomenological inquiry, then, consists s o l e l y of the recognizable structures of immediate consciousness, uhile the domain of ethnomethodological inquiry consists solely i n -32-rnombErs' situated practices uhich produce for them-selves and for observers the sense of the abjective s a c i a l structure. To c l a r i f y the ethnomethodalogical programme, i t i s useful to see uhat i s involved i n the phenomenological pro-gramme. The epistsmologicol stance of phenomenology i s rad-i c a l l y d i f f e r e n t from the natural attitude; i t involves a sus-pension of the natural attitude, Husserl !s phenomenological epoche. Suspension,,.involves a s h i f t in modes of attention, Tho same r e a l i t y I took for granted in t y p i c a l fashion i n naive attitude I nou revieu in phenomano-l d g i c a l attitude. The r e a l uorld, everyday e x i s t -ence, e t c , do not mysteriously disappear or vanish under epoche; they are merely seen i n terms of a perspective hitherto unimagined and even unimaginable in common-sense terms. Husserl's oun description of phenomenological epoche moy nou make sense: "Ue put out of action the general thesis "of the independent existences of the uorld~j uhich belongs to the essence of the natural standpoint, ue place in brackets uhotever i t includes, respecting the nature of Being: t h i s entire natural uorld therefore uhich i s continually 'there for us', 'present to out hand', and u i l l ever remain there, i s a 'fact-world' of uhich ue continue to be conscious, even though i t pleases us to put i t in brackets. If I da t h i s , as I am f u l l y free to do, I do not then deny t h i s 'uorld', as though I uere a sophist, I do not doubt that i t i s there as though I uere a sceptic; but I use the 'phenomeno-l o g i c a l ' epoche, uhich completely bars me from using any judgment that concerns spatio-temporal existence," James L, Heap and P h i l l i p A. Roth, "Metaphors, Dilemmas, and Domains: Problems in Phenomenological Sociology", American So c i o l o g i c a l Revieu, Vol. 38 #3, p. 356. IMatanson, Maurice, Essays in Phenomenology, Martinus Nijhoff, 1963, p. ID. -33-Ths ethnomothadalogical stance ta the s o c i a l uorld, as painted out by Heap and Roth, i s analogous to the epoche of the phenomenologistso Ethnomethodologists arp not concerned uith order, r a t i o n a l i t y , v e r i f l a b i l i t y , etc. of s o c i a l s i t u a t i o n s : but uith the. appearance of order, r a t i o n a l i t y , v e r i f i a b i l i t y , etc. For example, ethnomethodologists 1 concern i s not uhether uhat a member says i s true or false (this i s a judgment u i t h i n the natural attitude) but rather hou members constitute reports as true or f a l s e . The most important point to grasp i s that neither ethnomethodologists i n their d i s -cussion of s o c i a l situations, nor phenamcnologists in the i r discussion of the f i e l d af consciousness, are denying the e x i s t -ence of the s o c i a l uorld or the r e a l uorld. Questions of existence or non-existence, l i k e questions of truth or f a l s i t y , can only be asked from a standpoint u i t h i n the natural attitude. Ethnomethodologists recommend that the everyday uorld of members be treated as a topic rather than as a resource for the analyst. This i s the analogue of the phcnamenologist 1s recommendation to make e x p l i c i t the assumptions of the natural attitude. What i s involved in th i s programme? Because a setting's features are vieued as the accomplishment of members' practices for making them observable, the elements of the occasioned corpus are treated as unique to the parti c u l a r setting in uhich i t i s assembled. These elements may not be generalized bj^Jtje_an^J^£t to other settings. Within this frameuork ~* for example, one uould not be interested in constructing typologies of one or another class of s o c i a l settings, although the members' uork of can-•Ob-structing such typologies uould be e l i g i b l e for treatment as a phenomenon„^ From the e t h n o m e t h o d D l o g i s t ' s point of vieu, the appearance of a s a c i a l order uould cease i f members stopped 'doing' the s o c i a l order — creating and managing i t s appear-ance in any s o c i a l s i t u a t i o n . It i s as i f the s a c i a l order uere a road uhich came into existence only as long as someone ualked on i t : i t appears under one's foot uith every further step. So i t i s uith the s o c i a l order: i t i s constituted as members go along, in any pa r t i c u l a r setting, by their practices for making i t observable. It u i l l become clearer h o u this i s so as u e examine some examples of h o u members manage and accomplish their s o c i a l settings. Since i t i s a central tenet of ethnomethadology that tho s a c i a l order i s 'brought into existence 1 i n every p a r t i c -ular setting by members' practices for making i t observable, 3 large part of ethnomethadology i s devoted to members' accounting practices — uhat Garfinkel c a l l s 'situated practices of looking and t e l l i n g ' . One of the f i r s t insights of ethnomethodology i s that no accounts are 'context-free': that i s , a l l accounts depend upon members1 commonsense knou-ledge, and on the setting in uhich they ore done, for the i r comprehensibility. This feature of accounts Garfinkel c a l l s ' i n r i e x i c a l i t y ' . Since a l l accounts are indexical, ethno-methodologists e x p l i c i t l y treat accounts as features of Don E. Zimmerman and Melvin Pollner "The Everyday world as a Phenomenon", i n Douglas, op. c i t . , p. 97/ -35-settings, rather than treating them in i s o l a t i o n from their settings,. Conventional sociology t r i e s to remudy the indexi-c a l i t y of accounts by picking out what i s ' t y p i c a l ' : by constructing t y p i f i c a t i o n s of events they try to 'cancel out 1 the i d i o s y n c r a t i c features. But in doing this they are them-selves engaged in constructing an account which r e l i e s on members' notions of what the ' t y p i c a l ' features of such situations are — i . e . i t r e l i e s on members' already knowing, in some sense, what i s being talked about. Ethoomethodologists see i n d e x i c a l i t y as an irremediable feature of accounts, but they recommend that t h i s very fact be made a topic of study. An indexical expression i s one whose sense cannot be determined by an auditor "without his necessarily knowing or assuming something about the biography and purposes of the users of the expression, the circumstances of the utterance, the previous course of the conversation, or the par t i c u l a r relationship of actual or potential interaction that exists between the expressor and the auditor."" 1' This statement of G a r f i n k e l J s can be usefully unpacked: (1) An indexical expression i s one whose sense cannot be de-termined by an auditor without his (or her) necessarily knowing or assuming something about the biography and purposes of the users of the expression; (2) An indexical expression i s one whose sense cannot be Harold Garfinkel, Studies in Ethnomethodology, Prentice-Hall, 1967, p. 5. -36-dEterminEd by an auditor without his (or her) necessarily knowing or assuming something about the circumstances of the utterance; (3) An i n d e x i c s l expression i s one whose sense cannot be determined by the auditor without his (or her) necessarily knowing or assuming something about the previous course of the conversation; (4) An indexical expression i s one whose sense cannot be determined by the auditor without his (or her) necessarily knowing or assuming something about the par t i c u l a r r e l a t i o n -ship of actual or potential interaction between the expressor and tho auditor. The most obvious examples of indexical expressions are ones l i k e "I am here"; "Yesterday you drove f i f t y miles south", etc. Such sentences depend for their sense upon the location of the utterance, the identity of the speaker and the l i s t e n e r , and so on. The truth value of such statements i s not discoverable independently of any occasion of their utterance. As a rule, one has no trouble understanding such statements because i t i s obvious 'from the context 1 what i s meant. Members routinely refer to the context of such statements to understand their meaning. It i s the contention of ethnomethodologists, however, that t h i s feature of making sense of statements i s a generalized feature of a l l accounts and not only brought into play on occasions of doubtful semantic reference. This view i s r a d i c a l l y d i f f e r e n t from that of con-ventional sociology, uhich seeks to is o l a t e elements of situations and treat them apart from the occasions uhich generated them. Conventional sociology treats situations as equivalent, as, for example, each administration of a questionnaire. It seeks to eliminate extraneous factors by, for example, 'randomizing' the sample, so that i t i s represent-ative — i . e . , so that the results of questionnaires are taken not only as ansuers to the 'same' questionnaire but also as answers uhich 'stand f a r ' ansuers uhich uould have been given by others i n the population,, A fundamental assumption of conventional sociology i s that there i s an 'objective sense' of (e.g.) ansuers to questionnaires uhich i s not dependent on the context of the interview. The practices used by members to make sense of the world around them are the same practices whether one i s a lay or a professional s o c i o l o g i s t . Accounts done by members are done using practices s t r u c t u r a l l y equivalent to those used by s o c i o l o g i s t s in their accounts: both employ the same making-sense-of procedures.'1' Ue have ssan that a l l accounts are indexical; we s h a l l proceed to examine the ways in uhich they are indexical — i . e . hou i t i s that they are dependent for t h e i r sense on much more than i s l i t e r a l l y conveyed. Ethnomethodologists have studied various kinds of accounts — conversation, u r i t t e n This analysis follows a uorking paper by Dorothy Smith. documents, reports, etc. Their use of the term i s not un-ambiguous; however I s h a l l take i t to mean any conveyance of information in wards. I take ethnomethodologists 1 statements about accounting practices to be true of any sort of account, though perhaps in dif f e r e n t ways. Ethnomothodalogists, p a r t i c -u l a r l y Garfinkel, have discussed various ways in which accounts are i n d e x i c a l : the assumption of member-competence, which e n t a i l s mutual expectations nf a deal of common-sense knowledge of "What-Anyone-Knows1; the judgments of adequacy of accounts in terms of "Uhat-Anyone-Knows', and temporal features of accounts. Garfinkel notes that what i s said in an account i s only a small part of what i s conveyed. Members assume of one another a knowledge of and competence in the s o c i a l structure. This i s a feature of members' accounts that far them i s of such singular and prevailing relevance that i t controls other features in their s p e c i f i c character as recognizable, r a t i o n a l features of p r a c t i c a l s o c i o l o g i c a l i n q u i r i e s . The feature i s t h i s : With respect to the problematic character of p r a c t i c a l actions, and to the adequacy of their i n q u i r i e s , members take for granted that a member must ot the outset 'know' the settings i n which he is' to operate i f his practices are to serve as measures to bring p a r t i c u l a r , located features of these settings to recognizable account.•*• It i s more accurate to say, not only that what i s said i s a small part of what i s conveyed, but that in order ta say anything the expressor must take for granted and rely on the auditor's knowledge of the setting or context. It i s Garfinkel, op, c i t . , p. 8. -39-h e u r i s t i c a l l y interesting to consider a setting as a figure -ground Gestalt, with tha figure being uhat i s l i t e r a l l y re-ported, and the ground being the taken-fcr-granted knouledge uhich the speaker assumes of the auditor, and the auditor of the speaker, That-uhich-is-said i s chosen from a vast range of that-uhich-might-hove-bEen-said, and part of i t s sense comes from i t s having been picked out to be reported or remarked upon. Port of i t s meaning i s bound up uith the unstated uhot-might-have-been-said in the uay that a figure i s comprehensible only against • ground. This metaphor i s misleading, houever. But members' accounting practices establish the context at the same time as thsy single out features of that context. Uith a l l accounts, there i s an interplay betueen the background understandings assumed by and required of a l l members, and the adequacy of members' accounts, Garfinkel says that judgments about the adequacy of accounts are aluays done in terms of for-all-practicol-purposes. ' F a r - a l l - p r a c t i c a l -purposes' i s obviously something that u i l l change uith the purposes of speaker and auditor, and u i l l be t i e d up in the assignments of background knouledge that each makes to the other. For example, a physicists' explanation of nuclear f i s s i o n uould be di f f e r e n t i f she uere talking to a convention of p hysicists than i f she uere talking tD an eighth grade clnss, for tuo reasons: her purposes uould be di f f e r e n t , and the kind of 'commonsense' knouledge — taken-for-granted and not s p e c i f i c a l l y reported — uould be d i f f e r e n t . That i s to soy, 1 f o r - a l l - p r a c t i c a l - p u r p o s e s 1 depends on the context of the occounto The features of everyday accounting practices that Garfinkel outlines point to hou the sense of an account i s inextricably t i e d to the occasion of i t s utterance or use. I s h a l l use the term 'context' to refer to that knouledge uhich expressor and auditor assume of each other to make sense of t h e i r accounts, and 'setting' to refer to the s p e c i f i c space and time of a verbal utterance. For example, i f I am speaking to a class about Canadian Indians and I say "The papulation of B.C. Indians uas reduced by tuo thirds by uhite man's diseases", the setting i s the s o c i a l s i t u a t i o n of the classroom, the people and objects in i t , and so on; the context i s uhat I assume that the students knou in order to understand my statement. I assume of them, among many other things, knouledge of the vocabulary and syntax of English so that they recognize that I have made a statement. I assume that they understand uhat I mean by "B.C.", that i t i s an abbreviation for B r i t i s h Columbia, that B r i t i s h Columbia i s a Canadian province, that a Canadian province i s a p o l i t i c a l l y constituted geographic area; that Canada i s a country, that a country is...and so on. The 'and so on* i s uhat Garfinkel refers to as the 'etcetera assumption'. Every statement, no matter hou simple, assumes an in p r i n c i p l e endless stare of 'commonsense1 knouledge on the part of the auditor. Clearly the context af a statement and the setting or occasion of a statement may overlap, as uhen I comment to my -41-class that the room i s warm. In such a case, the setting be-comes port of the context. The context, however, i s always much broader than the setting, since i t i s in pr i n c i p l e endless. This competence i s assumed by members of each other. Accounts are done i n terms of t h i s background understanding, and members expect of each other that they w i l l f i l l in what has bean omitted. This f i l l i n g i n i s such a regular feature of accounts that members do not even r e a l i z e that they are doing i t or expecting i t . In everyday a f f a i r s , members require of each other only that they provide an account that i s adequate-for-oll-practical-purposes. That i s , members accept and expect of each other a common set of understandings as a background to the i r state-ments which gives their statements sense. This i s a t a c i t expect-ation,";, and does not become an issue u n t i l the expectation i s violated. Garfinkel's ingenious exercise of having students violate these expectations demonstrates their taken-for-granted-nass. His students did not accept at face value 'ordinary' statements, but questioned the speaker as to 'what he meant'. (S) I hod a f l a t t i r e . (E) What do you mean, you had a f l a t t i r e ? She appeared momentarily stunned. Then she answered in a ho s t i l e way: "What do you mean, 'What do you mean?' A f l a t t i r e i s a f l a t t i r e . That i s what I meant. Nothing s p e c i a l . What a crazy question!'1 The subject's reaction was invariably one of confusion and/or h o s t i l i t y , and the "explanations" of commonplace remarks quickly came to some version af 'You know what I mean!' This Garfinkel, op. c i t . , p. 42. -42-illuminates the assumption by speaker and hearer that they can reasonably expect each other to 'knou uhat they moan' by virtue af t h e i r status as competent members in the society. They rely on 'Uhat Anyone Knows' and appeal to i t as a basis for the reasonableness and comprshensibility of their state-ments , Another area in which t h i s t a c i t feature of accounts becomes obvious i s in children's questions. Children learn tho format for dealing with/acquiring information about the world. In our society t h i s takes the form of 'Why..,?' There i s a period during which tho c h i l d uses 'Why,,,?' indiscriminately, and asks "absurd" questions — i , e . questions that are un-answerable within the family's or culture's frame of reference. The c h i l d learns the l i m i t s of accountability when he gets ta the 'just because' answers. Daddy, why do birds f l y ? Because the way we hove legs to walk, birds have wings to f l y , so when they want to get anywhere thsy have to f l y , Why don't we hove wings ta f l y ? Because people don't have wings (Because we hove legs; Becauso God made us that way; What would you want wings for? etc.) But uhy_, Daddy? That's just the way i t i s , (Just because; Go ask your mother; etc.) As was noted e a r l i e r , adequacy f o r - o l l - p r o c t i c a l -purposes i s r e l a t i v e to the s i t u a t i o n . Questions become 'ludicrous' when they are questions of what-anyone-knows: but the some question may not be ludicrous i n a l l s i t u a t i o n s . In the example mentioned e a r l i e r , the question "Uhat i s an atom" could be a sensible question from the eighth graders and a ludicrous question from the convention f l o o r . -1*3-It i s clear that members 'recognize, depend on, use, and take for granted' each other's competence i . e . each other's common sense knouledge of the s o c i a l uorld, and that this mutual expectation of and reliance upon competence i s neces-sary for accounts to be done at a l l . Garfinkel"'" also discusses the temporal features of accounting practices. Accounts depend for their sense on tho continual unfolding of them. Members routinely expect to uait for uhat-uill-have-been-said in order to make sense of the statements at hand. There i s a continual process of retro-spective and prospective reference by members uhich i s an essen t i a l feature of the comprehensibility of accounts. Again, this i s part of the background of the comprehensibility of accounts against uhich the accounts make sense. The idea of prospective reference on the part of members t i e s into the Schutzian notion that a c t i v i t i e s are nluays reviewed in the future perfect mode — i . e . one assesses uhat-uill-have-bsen^done uith one's reports. Garfinkel elabor-ates t h i s idea p a r t i c u l a r l y uith reference to the adequacy of reports. Reports are judged to be adequate according to uhat u i l l have been done uith them -- i . e . as others s h a l l use 2 them. Here Garfinkel i s focusing on 5 bureaucratic adequacy'. He refers to the Suicide Prevention Center, uhere members are Harold Garfinkel, Studies in Ethnomethodology. Prentice-Hall Inc., Engleuood C l i f f s l\i.J„, 1967, Chapter 1. Ibid., pp. 11-18. -Un-engaged in managing reports uhich u i l l be seen to be adequate to the coroner or, perhaps, the p u b l i c Members have in mind, as they are preparing th e i r reports, that t h i s i s the uhat-uill-havs-been-done af the i r enterprise, and they are concerned to manage the i r reports such thot they u i l l be demonstrably adequate for-all-practical-purposes. Housvor, the feature of prospective revieu of accounts i s not r e s t r i c t e d to a bureaucratic or an organizational setting, though i t i s perhaps most eas i l y v i s i b l e there, Ldithin the time of a conversation, for example, members pay attention to hou the other u i l l understand uhat they hove said -- i . E . hou the i r accounts u i l l have been treated by the other. The temporal s i t u a t i o n of an account refers to i t s immediate here-and-nou, and to i t s location i n the longterm passage of time — i n members' biographies, in the ongoing history of the i r projects, and sa on. Members accept, expect, and use th i s situated feature of the i r reports to understand them. Retrospective revieu of reports i s a continual process; uhat-has-been-soid undergoes continual modification ond re-vision in the l i g h t af uhat-is-being-soid. It i s not that former statements ora scan as f a l s e , untrue, inaccurate, or uhatevcr (though they may be); rather present statements serve to illuminate uhat the speaker uas 'r e a l l y ' saying before: there i s a continual process of integrating past and present accounts to provide o recognizable, r a t i o n a l rendition of the s a c i a l uorld, Garfinkel c a l l s t h i s an ' a r t f u l ' practice. Members are engaged in the business of uorking up together a -45-picture of the uorld uhich i s r a t i o n a l f o r - a l l - p r a c t i c a l -purposES, i . e . one that i s uorkable. Rationality of accounts ( i o B o the recognizable sense of accounts) i s a managed accomplishment for members, and i t i s a concerted s o c i a l a c t i v i t y o Retrospective revieu, l i k e prospective revieu, can be and i s referred by members both to the immediate past (as for example preceding remarks) or the 'long' past of the project or the biographies of the members-Members accept and count on the unfolding character of an account as an ordinary making-sense-of procedure- Succeed-ing remarks take t h e i r sense from preceding ones: members do not expect remarks to "make sense" apart from th e i r temporal location. This i s ea s i l y i l l u s t r a t e d by taking a transcr i p t or a paragraph and sh u f f l i n g the order of the sentences or utterances. Garfinkel notes that these everyday features of pro-cedures for understanding d i f f e r r a d i c a l l y from idea l i z e d or canonized rules of l o g i c a l procedures. These properties of common understandings stand i n contrast to the features they uould have i f ue d i s -regarded t h e i r temporally constituted character and treated them instead as preceded entries on a memory drum, to be consulted as a de f i n i t e set of al t e r n -ative meanings from among uhich one uas tD sElect, under predecided conditions that s p e c i f i e d i n uhich of some set of alternative uays one uas to understand the s i t u a t i o n upon the occasion that the necessity for a decision arose. The l a t t e r properties are those of s t r i c t r a t i o n a l discourse as these are idealiz e d in the rules that define an adequate l o g i c a l proof.1 Garfinkel, op. c i t . -46-It i s th i s embedded character D f accounts that has been neglected by conventional s o c i o l o g i s t s . So far i n th i s discussion of ethnomethadology me have centered on members' practices of doing occounts: their reliance upon common sense understanding, their use of retrospective-prospective reference, the temporal location of accounts, and sa an. T i l l new, i t might seem that t h i s i s simply o description of hou members handle ' s o c i a l r e a l i t y ' or the 's o c i a l structure*. As such, i t uould be a discussion of members' recognition procedures, a hou-they-do-it analysis, but i t uould leave 'so c i a l r e a l i t y ' as the product of the i r procedures, and unaffected by them. It uould be rather l i k e a discussion of the psychological processes of addition -- the description, no matter hou illuminating, uould have nothing to say about 2+2=4. Ethnomethodology could then be integrated into conventional sociology as on analysis of the 'behind the scenes' of the s o c i a l structure; the s a c i a l structure uould remain independent of members, os something outside of the i r a c t i v i t i e s . Houever the claim of Garfinkel and of ethnomethodologists after him i s far more r a d i c a l than t h i s . For Garfinkel, the practices involved in making events describable (observable-and-reportable) are the same as the processes of constituting the events as events. T i l l nou, ue have been concerned uith discussing the indexical features of accounts — hou accounts are t i e d to th e i r s e t t i n g s . The obverse of t h i s discussion i s to discuss hou settings are linked to members' accounts of and u i t h i n them. ....the a c t i v i t i e s uhereby members produce and manage settings of organized everyday a f f a i r s are i d e n t i c a l -47-uith members' procedures for making those settings ' account-able' <. When I speak of accountable, my interests are directed to such matters as the f o l l o u i n g . I mean observable-and-reportable, i . e . available to members as situated practices of looking-and-telling,, I mean, too, that such practices consist of an endless, ongoing, con-tingent accomplishment; that they are carried on under the auspices of, and made to happen as events i n , the same ordinary a f f a i r s that i n organ-iz i n g they describe; that the practices are done by parties uihose s k i l l u i t h , knouledge of, and en-titlement to the detailed uork of that accomplishment — uhose competence — they obstinately depend upon, recognize, use, and take for granted; and that they take t h e i r competence for granted i t s e l f furnishes parties uith a setting's distinguishing end p a r t i c -ular features, and of course i t furnishes them as u e l l as resources, troubles, projects, and the r e s t . A considerable amount of uork has been done in the area of seeing hou i t i s that members organize t h e i r a f f a i r s i n order to moke them recognizable and reportable. For example, Gar-2 3 4 f i n k e l , LJieder and Zimmerman have done uork on r u l e -fol l o u i n g behaviour- The paradigm uidely used to explain be-haviour by so c i o l o g i s t s i s that behaviour i s behaviour-according-to-Q-rule, and that the uhole s a c i a l system uorks smoothly since everyone i s motivated to comply uith the r u l e s . This i s ths normative paradigm, elaborated by Wilson and d i s -cussed e o r l i e r in th i s paper. Ethnomethadology 1s interest l i e s i n hau i t i s that members recognize occasions as being Garfinkel, op. c i t . , pp. 1-2. This passage i s outstand-ing even i n Garfinkel's dense uork for i t s convoluted phrasings and multiple references. c I b i d . , pp. 18-24. ^D. Laurence LJieder, "On Meaning by Rule" in Jack D. Douglas, (ed.) Understanding Everyday L i f e . Chicago, Aldine Pub-l i s h i n g Co. 1970, p. 107-135. Don H. Zimmerman,"The P r a c t i c a l i t i e s of Rule Use" in Douglas (ed.). op. c i t . , p. 221-238. -48-'cases' u h i c h f a l l under a r u l e , and hou they manage t h e i r a c t i v i t i e s so t h a t they u i l l - h a v e - b e e n - s e e n as h a v i n g f o l l o u e d the r u l e s . G a r f i n k e l employed coders t o code f o l d e r c o n t e n t s a t the UCLA O u t p a t i e n t s C l i n i c . The coders uere g i v e n e l a b o r a t e c o d i n g i n s t r u c t i o n s . What G a r f i n k e l d i s c o v e r e d uas t h a t , no mat t e r hou e x p l i c i t and d e t a i l e d the i n s t r u c t i o n s , the coders had t o assume a knouledge o f the c l i n i c ' s o p e r a t i o n s i n o r d e r to do the c o d i n g . They had t o drau on t h e i r member's knou-ledge i n o r d e r t o r e c o g n i z e f o l d e r e n t r i e s as ' c l i n i c e v e n t s ' and t o d e a l u i t h them. ...such presupposed knouledge seemed n e c e s s a r y and uas most d e l i b e r a t e l y c o n s u l t e d uhenever, f o r u h a t e v e r r e a s o n s , the coders needed t o be s a t i s f i e d t h a t they had coded 'uhat r e a l l y happened'. T h i s uas so r e g a r d l e s s a f uhe t h e r o r not they had encountered 'ambiguous' f o l d e r c o n t e n t s . Such a procedure undermined any c l a i m t h a t a c t u a r i a l methods f o r i n t e r r o g a t i n g the f o l d e r c o n t e n t s had been used, no ma t t e r hou a p p a r a n t l y c l e a r the c o d i n g i n s t r u c t i o n s u e r e . l In o r d e r t o make sense o f the c o d i n g i n s t r u c t i o n s --to r e c o g n i z e them as b e i n g r e l a t e d t o the c l i n i c ' s a c t i v i t i e s — and i n o r d e r t o c a r r y out the c o d i n g o p e r a t i o n on the f o l d e r c o n t e n t s , the coders had t o use "ad h o e i n g " p r o c e d u r e s — G a r f i n k e l ' s term, t o i n c l u d e such t h i n g s as 'et c e t e r a ' , ' u n l e s s ' , ' l e t i t p a s s 1 and 'factum v a l e t ' . The coders c o u l d not d e a l u i t h the f o l d e r s e xcept i n the c o n t e x t o f the a c t i v i t i e s o f the c l i n i c , as they kneu or supposed i t t o be. G a r f i n k e l , op. c i t . , p. 20. I t a l i c s i n o r i g i n a l . -k9-But the coders also discovered the procedures of the c l i n i c in the folders as they coded thern: so there uas a continual r e f l e x i v e modification of the c o d 9 r s ' ideas of the c l i n i c and the r e l a t i o n of the folders to the c l i n i c ' s a c t i v i t i e s -Zimmerman's study of the receptionist function in the Metropolitan County Bureau of Public Assistance i l l u s t r a t e s the 'doing' of rules- It uas the receptionists' jab to pre-process applicants for assistance and assign them to case-uorkers- There uas an e x p l i c i t procedure for assigning applicants to caseuorkers- Receptionists have a sheet uhich i s ruled to form a matrix. "One axis of the matrix represents the order in uhich the panel of intake uorkers on duty an a given day are to receive assignments; the other axis represents the order of assignments for a given uorker ( t y p i c a l l y s i x in t o t a l ) . By use of the rule, top to bottom, l e f t to righ t , i n that order (that i s , the 'next available c e l l ' ) , applicants are assigned to the c e l l s i n the order i n uhich their pro-cessing uas initiated."" 1" That i s c l i e n t s uere processed on a first-come, f i r s t - s e r v e d basis. Zimmerman c a l l s the s t r i c t application of the procedure a ' l i t e r a l ' as opposed to 'interpretive' application of the r u l e . As a rule, to c i t e the procedure l i t e r a l l y uould be also to describe the receptionists' uay of operating-Zimmerman c i t e s three instances, uhere the rule uas not falloued 1 Jan H- Zimmerman, "The P r a c t i c a l i t i e s of Rule Use", in Douglas, (ed), op- c i t - , p. 227. -50-l i t e r a l l y — i , e , applicants uere not assigned to the next available c e l l on the sheet. In the f i r s t instance, a case-worker uas s t i l l intervieuing her f i r s t applicant of the day uhen, by the rotation schedule, she uas due to have her t h i r d applicant assigned to her- This situ a t i o n uas judged by the receptionist to be a problem s i t u a t i o n , sincE the caseuorker uas taking so long. Since one of the problems of the re-ceptionist i s to keep the problems moving, the applicant uas assigned to another caseuorker. This uas seen by the case-uorker to be a 'reasonable' suspension D f the procedural rule, because i t uas true to uhat the receptionist took to be the rule's intent -- to keep people moving. By suspending the rule i n l i g h t of the exceptional character of the s i t u a t i o n , the intent of the rule might be said to be honored — i t s intent being formulable on a par t i c u l a r occasion by s i t u o t i o n a l l y relevant references to the 'usual' course of a f f a i r s i t s routine or precedanted use t y p i c a l l y reproduces. Through the situated judgmental modification of the routine application of the rule, the 'same' business as usual course of a f f a i r s may be — for a l l intents and purposes — r e l i a b l y reproduced.^ The second instance discussed by Zimmerman i s the re-cip r o c a l suitch of tuo applicants from their respective c e l l s , to accommodate one applicant's request for a s p e c i f i c case-uorker. This uas recognized by the receptionist involved as an exception to the rules, and treated as such. She i s quoted as remarking "Ue don't do th i s very often. They're not supposed to get a case just because they uant i t . " Zimmerman Ibid., p. 232. -51-notes that, since the request uas made by the applicant, to deny the request might have been to r i s k a confrontation uith the applicant, uhich uould hove disrupted tho uhole pro-cedure . In allouing for an 'exceptional 1 breach of the pro-cedural rules, the receptionist uas providing for the smooth 'normal' uorkings of the r u l e . The t h i r d instance of non-compliance uith the rules uas the u n o f f i c i a l arrangement uhereby ' d i f f i c u l t ' applicants uero assigned to a pa r t i c u l a r caseuarker, by a mutual agreement betueen the caseuarker and the receptionists, in v i o l a t i o n of the n e x t - a v a i l a b l o - c e l l r u l e . This uas an ongoing arrangement, and so systematically violated the rule — thus i t cauld not be treated as an exception. The receptionists recognized i t s ' i l l e g a l ' character, and mode e f f o r t s to conceal the arrange-ment by e x p l i c i t l y covert a c t i v i t i e s . Zimmerman terms the arrangement u n o f f i c i a l or informal, not by virtue af i t s departure from a rule, but by virtue af the uay members treated i t — i , e . covertly, "That care i s exercised to conceal the arrangement suggests that those concerned anticipated o f f i c i a l disapproval uere the plan to become o f f i c i a l l y recognized," 1 Again, t h i s u n o f f i c i a l provision for 'disruptive' cases enabled tho receptionists to 'accomplish' a smooth routine. From these instances, i t i s clear that the reception-i s t s ' a c t i v i t i e s cannot be described simply as r u l e - f o l l o u i n g behaviour. The receptionists' overriding orientation uas to Ibid., p. 236, -52-manage the angaing events in order to generate a routine. The routine quality of their a c t i v i t i e s could only be pre-served by providing for ways of handling p o t e n t i a l l y d i s -ruptive events. The procedural rules did not l e g i s l a t e the a c t i v i t i e s ; rather a c t i v i t i e s uere organized to provide for the seen accomplishment of the r u l e s . Thus, that the a c t i v -i t i e s of that setting can be seen as describable by a rule i s an ongoing accomplishment of the members in that s e t t i n g . The receptionists' orientation ta the accomplishment of a routine can be seen i n the i r judgment of some instances as being 'exceptional' or 'disruptive'. It i s only i n terms of a normal routine that such judgments have meaning. The re-ceptionists uere i n the business of r a u t i n i z i n g un-usual features of the situa t i o n — but t h i s was not done by bringing that instance under the l i t e r a l aegis cf a r u l e . It i s more correct to refer to members' a c t i v i t i e s as 'orientation to rules' than to 'following rules',as a feature of the i r organized a c t i v i t i e s . There i s a d i f f i c u l t y with the t r a d i t i o n a l notions of 'norms' and 'normative be-haviour' which i s in part corrected by th i s approach. IMorms are t r a d i t i o n a l l y conceived of as the i n s t i t u t i o n a l i z e d rules of a society which provide the members with a 'blueprint' of normal-form behaviour. The norms are internalized by i n -dividuals in the process of the i r s o c i a l i z a t i o n into a society; deviance from s o c i a l norms i s negatively sanctioned by the -53-society. People learn norms in aggregates, c a l l e d roles: e.g. being a businessman carries uith i t a number of rules for behaviour. In an i n t u i t i v e uay the notion of norms i s very s a t i s -fying, because i t provides a comprehensive account of hou i t i s that people act (or seem to a c t ) . It i s uhen one attempts a s p e c i f i c a t i o n of uhich rules are operative (or in fact, uhat the rules are) far a given occasion, that one runs into trouble. Unending trouble. A l l 'norms' carry uith them the proviso 'unless...'„ This brings to mind the endless debates among moral philosophers, about the status of moral judgments. If moral laus are universal, then they admit of no exceptions. (Murder i s oluoys urong.) But one can aluays f i n d a hypo-t h e t i c a l s i t u a t i o n uhere one might uant to suspend the 'universal' lau. (But uhat i f an insane sniper gunned doun six people and uas going to continue to murder?) But i f the lau admits of any exceptions, than uhat i s the lau by uhich cases are judged to f a l l or not to f a l l under t h i s moral lau?. S i m i l a r l y , i t i s impossible to specify norms at a l l except i n the most general uay, and even then they are open to a s i t u a t i o n a l 'unless'. Uhat needs to be done i s to see hou members treat rules; hou they recognize situations as being ones that are (or should be) covered by the rules; and hou they see t h e i r behaviour as having-been-done-according-to-a-r u l e . Uhen so c i o l o g i s t s describe behaviour as narmatively governed, they assume, and assume that readers assume, the s i t u a t i o n a l 'unless'. Sk-it i s erroneous to describe behaviour simply as r u l e -governed, since i t i s not clear uhat 'governed' means. Be-haviour i s not rule-governed, i t i s rule-oriented, that i s , on any given occasion members 'accomplish 1 a si t u a t i o n so that i t can be seen as having-been-rule-governed. Ue hove examined thE ethnomethDdological programme b r i e f l y , ond certai n l y not exhaustively. Ue have not discussed the by nou s i g n i f i c a n t divergences among ethnomethodologists. In summary (1) Ethnomethodologists are at fundamental variance uith conventional sociology. They see the s o c i a l uorld as an ongoing accomplishment by i t s members, uho organize the uorld to make i t account-able, rather than seeing the s o c i a l uorld os a given, uhich i s the stor t i n g point of conventional sociology. (2) Ethnomethodologists see this 'production' of a recognizable s a c i a l uorld as an enterprise s t r u c t u r a l l y equivalent i n i t s practices uhether done by lay or professional s o c i o l o g i s t s , since both lay and professional s o c i o l o g i s t s approach the s o c i a l uorld from the natural attitude. (3) Ethnomethodologists recommend that, rather than try to remedy thi s irremediable feature of lay and conventional sociology, s o c i o l o g i s t s should study members' practices of organizing and making accounts of the uorld. Such a programme uould bracket the substance of members' accounts, and treat instead members' practices for doing accounts. Ethnomethodologists uould then not be operating u i t h i n the natural attitude, but -55-would be making statements about the natural attitude, among other things, ( 4 ) Following t h i s programme, ethnomethod-ologists havo found that accounts are irremediably indexical; that they depend for t h e i r sense upon a mutually assumed body of common knowledge, and that the adequacy of accounts i s judged with reference to the body of commonsense knowledge; that accounts depend for their sense upon th e i r temporal place-ment and reference; and members engage in a continuous process of prospective and retrospective review in understanding accounts; that members1 accounts organize settings at the same time that they describe them; and accounts are features of the settings. This i s not a comprehensive l i s t , but an indication of the sorts of things ethnomethodologists discover when they carry out t h e i r programme. The epistemQlogical stance of ethnomethodology — that a l l acccunts are irremediably indexical — involves the ethno-methodological programme in a kind of i n f i n i t e regress, since far any account, including the accounts done by ethnomethod-ologi s t s of members' practices of doing accounts, there can be no appeal beyond members' knowledge by which to judge the truth or v a l i d i t y of the account. This becomes an issue when doing research within the ethnomethodalogicol framework. For example, i f one i s discussing members' accounting practices with respect to a s p e c i f i c t r a n s c r i p t , does the i d e n t i f i c a t i o n of an accounting practice within that account constitute a general demonstrcition af such a practice with respect to a l l accounts'} If so, on whot epistemnlogical grounds does one -56-malo the claim of general v a l i d i t y for ana's findings? If not, does one than have to examine every account to show that tho i d e n t i f i e d accounting practice i s a feature of i t as well? Or, i f one i s convinced that the problem of i n f i n i t e regress i s a serious problem, i s one then precluded an epistemological grounds from doing any research whatsoever? Can the problem of i n f i n i t e regress be dismissed as a th e o r e t i c a l problem uith no implications for research uhat-soevor? At present there doesn't seem to be any uay out of this dilemma. -57-Bibliography Douglas, Jack D. (Ed.), Understanding Everyday L i f e , Chicago, Aldine Publishing Co., 1970. Garfinkel, Harold, Studies i n Ethnomethodology, Prentice-H a l l Inc., Engleuiood C l i f f s , N.J., 1967. Heap, James L. and Roth, P h i l l i p A„, "Metaphors, Dilemmas and Domains: Problems in 'Phenomenological Socio-logy'," American S o c i o l o g i c a l Review, V/ol. 38, No. 3, p. 354-367. Kuhn, Thomas, The Structure of S c i e n t i f i c Revolution. Chicago, University of Chicago Press, 1962. Mead, George Herbert. On So c i a l Psychology (ed. Anselm Strauss) Chicago, Phoenix Books, University of Chicago Press, 1965. Natanson, Maurice, Essays i n Phenomenology, Martinus Nijhoff, The Hague, 1966. Sartre, Jean-Paul. Being and Nothingness. Washington Square Press, 1953. Schutz, Alfred, Collected Papers Volume I: The Problem of Soc i a l Reality, Martinus Nijhoff, The Hague, 1962. _____, Collected Papers Volume II, Studies in S o c i a l Theory, Martinus" Nijhoff, The Hague, 1964. Smith, Dorothy E„ "The Ideological Practice of Sociology", unpublished ms., A p r i l , 1972. , "Making Sense and Nonsense", unpublished ms. , "Women's Perspective As a Radical Critique of Sociology", paper prepared for the meetings of the American Academy for the Advancement of Science ( P a c i f i c D i v i s i o n ) , Eugene, Oregon, June, 1972. Wilson, Thomas P., "Conceptions of Interaction and Forms of Soc i o l o g i c a l Explanation", American S o c i o l o g i c a l Review, 35, 4, August, 1970.
UBC Theses and Dissertations
On ethnomethodology Findlay, Barbara Jean 1973
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