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On ethnomethodology Findlay, Barbara Jean

Abstract

Ethnomethodolagy is considered in relation to conventional sociology; especially with regard to the epistemological critique of conventional sociology made by ethnomethodology. The pretheoretical assumptions of conventional sociology are analogous to the pretheoretical assumptions of natural science. Conventional sociology sees itself as identifying the causes of the social order. Its assumptions are (1) that the social world is analogous to the physical world in its givenness, its already-thereness, and (2) that the perceived orderliness of the social world is explicable by social laws analogous to physical laws of the natural world. The consequences of these assumptions are (1) a programme of investigation whose aim is a hypothetico-deductive explanation, and hence a division of the world into cause and effect, and (2) as a result, the reification and ‘scientification' of the social world. Ethnomathodologists take the social order to be an ongoing accomplishment of its members. Within the ethnomethodological framework, the documentary method, typification, and some features of members' accounting practices are considered. Brief consideration is given to the potential problems for ethnomethodological research.

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