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Ethnomethodology

  • By: Timothy Halkowski
  • In: Encyclopedia of Health Communication
  • Edited by: Teresa L. Thompson
  • Subject:Public Health Education & Health Promotion, Health Psychology, Health Communication

Ethnomethodology was developed by sociologist Harold Garfinkel and has directly (and via conversation analysis, indirectly) had an impact on such disciplines as sociology, communication, anthropology, and linguistics, as well as health communication. Influenced by Alfred Schutz's phenomenology and as Ludwig Wittgenstein's latter philosophy, ethnomethodology investigates “members'” methods for generating, recognizing, maintaining, repairing, and altering the social phenomena that constitute the features of any interactional setting. In other words, ethnomethodology proposes that a fundamental concern for the social sciences must be the taken-for-granted methods and procedures by which people concertedly produce and recognize any and all features of “objective social reality” (including the sense that people do share a mutually intelligible world-known-in-common).

According to many ethnomethodologists, much social science has in essence “gone native” by automatically accepting ...

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