The relationship between ethnomethodology and phenomenology of religion

The Relationship Between Ethnomethodology and Phenomenology Journal of the British Society for Phenomenology. Volume 2, Conventional approaches to family studies typically begin with an understanding or definition of the family that Phenomenology, Ethnomethodology, and Family Discourse . Durkheim, E. () The elementary forms of the religious life. In phenomenology, the investigator suspends his or her belief in the objective existence of the objects he or she perceives in order to investigate, describe and .

Finally, it should be noted that Schutz himself produced two pieces of applied research in which he constructed ideal types of the Stranger and the Homecomer, taking account of what their experiences meant to them instead of what social scientists or others might think they meant.

Another American philosopher to whom Schutz dedicated an entire essay was George Santayana, whose Dominations and Powers he reviewed. Besides these interchanges with American philosophers, Schutz later in his career interpreted the work of Max Scheler and earlier engaged thoroughly his treatment of intersubjectivity, a topic that Schutz insisted was to be treated within the natural attitude, in which one never doubted the existence of others.

Nevertheless, as soon as one reflects on his own stream of consciousness—and children and cultures may develop this capacity for self-reflection later—he becomes aware that his experiences are his own. Another figure, more or less within the phenomenological tradition, whose views on intersubjectivity Schutz examined and criticized, was Jean-Paul Sartre, particularly the Sartre of Being and Nothingness.

In manuscripts in the s and after The Phenomenology of the Social World, Schutz had already turned in this pragmatic direction. Each province contains its distinctive logical, temporal, corporal, and social dimensions, and movement between the provinces only becomes paradoxical e. Rather the provinces are permeable, and one adopts the attitudes of scientist or religious believer within the world of working as if it were seen through by another viewpoint, all the while that its communicative activities subtend these other provinces.

Hence they leave marks to bring within reach what they leave behind e. Finally, through symbols, developed within groups, something given within everyday reality appresents a reality belonging to a entirely different province of meaning, an ultimate transcendence e. At the predicative level, scientific reflection further transforms nonessential types e. At the end of this essay, Schutz speculates whether the Husserlian method of freely varying examples to determine the essential features that survive through such variations is not constrained by both ontological structure e.

These types, based on past experiences or socially transmitted, aim at future occurrences not in their uniqueness but with an emptiness that future events will fill in, such that only in retrospect, after an event occurs, is one able to determine how much that event was expected or unexpected.

Schutz, himself a trained pianist and widely read musicologist, integrated his phenomenology with his understanding of music. Music, differing from language in being non-representative, lends itself to phenomenological analysis in the meaning it carries beyond its mere physical nature as sound waves and in its character as an ideal object that must be constituted through its unfolding stages, i.

Hence, Schutz disagreed with Maurice Halbwachs who posited musical notation as the basis of social relationships between performers, when in fact it is merely a technical device accidental to their relationship.

In another essay, Schutz depicted Mozart as a social scientist, presenting a succession of situations that different characters interpret, and Schutz showed how orchestral representations of characters and their moods in melody made possible a simultaneity of fluxes of inner time that the non-operatic, nonmusical dramatist could only unfold successively. For instance, music and inner time unfold polythetically and cannot be grasped monothetically; that is, one must live through the unfolding of a symphony or inner experience, and any conceptual summary of their contents inevitably fails to do justice to their meaning.

However, since all conceptualization consists in a monothetical grasping of polythetic stages, Schutz is actually realizing that certain dimensions of consciousness elude conceptualization and thus demarcating the limits of rationalization, just as he had pointed out how certain provinces of meaning e.

According to Kersten, Schutz has seen clearly that the passive associations of listening e. Although Quixote is capable of constructing a defense of his own chivalrous world from within that world, the fact that this phantasied world contains an enclave of dreams at the cave of Montesinos ends up undermining it by raising the possibility that it itself is but a dream.

Schutz delineates various zones of interests, or relevances, extending from those within reach to those absolutely irrelevant, comments on the constant changeability of relevance configurations, and differentiates between relevances intrinsic to a theme, which one chooses, and those imposed.

George Psathas, Ethnomethodology and phenomenology - PhilPapers

Schutz, usually the value-free describer of social reality, in his conclusion endorses a normative notion of democracy in which it is a duty and a privilege, frequently not available in non-democratic societies, for well-informed citizens to express and defend opinions that often conflict with the uninformed opinions of the man in the street. Board of Education that ended racially segregated education in the United States. As regards group membership, he illustrates that the mere categorization of another as a member of a group need not be discriminatory, but depends upon an appropriate evaluation of the category from the viewpoint of the categorized individual.

In this essay, Schutz is concerned not to present a final definition of equality, but to highlight the differences between in-group and out-group understandings that serve as the preconditions of any discussion about it.

Some recently published texts that Schutz authored during an ethics institute in make possible an even richer awareness of his views on politics. In these documents, he recognizes the complex, unforeseen consequences resulting from social change, urges active engagement with others as crucial for developing social and civil judgment, and examines the barriers to sound civil judgment created by government, political parties, pressure organizations, mass media, and educational, familial, religious, and professional institutions.

For Schutz, however, insofar as those experiences of what was not properly of the ego, supposedly confined within the sphere of ownness, had their origin in the intersubjective world of everyday life that higher level phenomenological reflection presupposed, it seemed difficult to see how one could exclude from such correlates any reference to the sense-determinining of other subjectivities.

It was as though Husserl was striving for a theoretical detachment that the ontological origins of theory would not allow. In addition, for Schutz the very consciousness of another inevitably instituted a relationship with her. Finally, he questioned whether the philosopher, refraining from belief in the existence of the world or others and entering into a certain reflective solitude, could ever experience the transcendental community of which Husserl spoke, since she only constituted the world for herself and not for all other transcendental egos.

Intersubjectivity, Schutz concluded, was a matter of everyday life to be simply described and not to be constituted within the transcendental sphere of a self-reflective consciousness giving an account of how the other comes to appearance.

Ethnomethodology - Wikipedia

Just as Schutz had argued that the social world dictated the methods for its own social scientific investigation, so here it seemed to prescribe to phenomenology the approach appropriate to its description. In the last thirteen years of his life, Schutz was preparing a comprehensive phenomenology of the natural attitude, and one manuscript, edited by Richard Zaner, was posthumously published as Reflections on the Problem of Relevance, and another, co-authored by Thomas Luckmann, appeared as The Structures of the Life World.

The former book distinguishes different sets of interests, or relevances: The Structures of the Life-World represents a most complex and thorough restatement of many of the themes Schutz addressed throughout his life. After a more general account of the life-world and its relation to the sciences, the book takes up its various stratifications, such as provinces of meaning, temporal and spatial zones of reach, and social structure.

They consider how subjective knowledge becomes embodied in a social stock of knowledge and how the latter influences the former. In addition, the authors pursue such issues as the structures of consciousness and action, the choosing of projects, rational action, and forms of social action, whether such action be unilateral or reciprocal, immediate or mediate. A final section analyzes the boundaries of experience, different degrees of transcendencies from simply bringing an object within reach to the experience of deathand the mechanisms for crossing boundaries e.

Peter Berger and Thomas Luckmann wrote The Social Construction of Reality, which focused on how subjective human processes construct objective structures that human subjectivity in turn interprets and reacts to and which was among the most widely read books of social science in the twentieth century.

Understanding Phenomenlogy

Michael Staudigl and George Berguno have edited a collection of essays on the connection between the Schutzian approach and various hermeneutic traditions. The work of Alfred Schutz opens a wide field that is fruitful for addressing multiple themes and underpinning and supporting multiple disciplines. Works by SchutzDer sinnhafte Aufbau der sozialen Welt: Eine Einleitung in die verstehenden Soziologie, Vienna: Springer also in and Frankfurt: Suhrkamp, ; English translation: The Phenomenology of the Social World, G.

Northwestern University Press, Studies in Social Theory, Arvid Brodersen ed. Studies in Phenomenological Philosophy, I. University of Chicago Press. Northwestern University Press, — Northwestern University Press, and London: Strukturen der Lebenswelt, vol. The Structures of the Life-World, R.

Zaner and David J. Northwestern University Press, ; German edition: Gordon and Breach Science Publishers, 23— ParsonsThe Theory of Social Action: Indiana University Press; German edition: Zur Theorie sozialen Handelns: Routledge and Kegan Paul; German edition: Theorie der Lebensformen, I. GurwitschPhilosophers in Exile: Kersten, Dordrecht, Boston, London: Kluwer Academic Publishing, — Die pragmatische Schichtung der Lebenswelt, M.

Die kommunikative Ordnung der Lebenswelt, H. Translated as A Friendship that Lasted a Lifetime: University of Missouri Press. For example, driving the wrong way down a busy one-way street can reveal myriads of useful insights into the patterned social practices, and moral order, of the community of road users.

Alfred Schutz

The point of such an exercise—a person pretending to be a stranger or boarder in his own household—is to demonstrate that gaining insight into the work involved in maintaining any given social order can often best be revealed by breaching that social order and observing the results of that breach—especially those activities related to the reassembly of that social order, and the normalisation of that social setting.

This is in opposition to the idea that such questions are best answered by a sociologist. Sacks' original question concerned objects in public places and how it was possible to see that such objects did or did not belong to somebody. He found his answer in the activities of police officers who had to decide whether cars were abandoned. Durkheim 's aphorism Durkheim famously recommended: Garfinkel's alternative reading of Durkheim is that we should treat the objectivity of social facts as an achievement of society's members, and make the achievement process itself the focus of study.

Both links involve a leap of faith on the part of the reader; that is, we don't believe that one method for this interpretation is necessarily better than the other, or that one form of justification for such an interpretation outweighs its competitor.

Accounts Accounts are the ways members signify, describe or explain the properties of a specific social situation.


They can consist of both verbal and non-verbal objectifications. They are always both indexical to the situation in which they occur see belowand, simultaneously reflexive—they serve to constitute that situation.

An account can consist of something as simple as a wink of the eye, a material object evidencing a state of affairs documents, etc. Indexicality The concept of indexicality is a key core concept for ethnomethodology.

Garfinkel states that it was derived from the concept of indexical expressions appearing in ordinary language philosophywherein a statement is considered to be indexical insofar as it is dependent for its sense upon the context in which it is embedded Bar-Hillel The phenomenon is acknowledged in various forms of analytical philosophy, and sociological theory and methods, but is considered to be both limited in scope and remedied through specification operationalisation.

In ethnomethodology, the phenomenon is universalised to all forms of language and behavior, and is deemed to be beyond remedy for the purposes of establishing a scientific description and explanation of social behavior.

Note that any serious development of the concept must eventually assume a theory of meaning as its foundation see Gurwitsch Without such a foundational underpinning, both the traditional social scientist and the ethnomethodologist are relegated to merely telling stories around the campfire Brooks Misreading a text Misreading a text, or fragments of a text, does not denote making an erroneous reading of a text in whole or in part.

As Garfinkel states, it means to denote an, "alternate reading", of a text or fragment of a text. As such, the original and its misreading do not, " Reflexivity Despite the fact that many sociologists use "reflexivity" as a synonym for " self-reflection ," the way the term is used in ethnomethodology is different: Documentary method of interpretation The documentary method is the method of understanding utilised by everyone engaged in trying to make sense of their social world—this includes the ethnomethodologist.

Garfinkel recovered the concept from the work of Karl Mannheim [22] and repeatedly demonstrates the use of the method in the case studies appearing in his central text, Studies in Ethnomethodology. Garfinkel states that the documentary method of interpretation consists of treating an actual appearance as the "document of", "as pointing to", as "standing on behalf of", a presupposed underlying pattern.

This seeming paradox is quite familiar to hermeneuticians who understand this phenomenon as a version of the hermeneutic circle. Methodologically, social order is made available for description in any specific social setting as an accounting of specific social orders: Social orders themselves are made available for both participants and researchers through phenomena of order: These appearances parts, adumbrates of social orders are embodied in specific accounts, and employed in a particular social setting by the members of the particular group of individuals party to that setting.

Specific social orders have the same formal properties as identified by A. Gurwitsch in his discussion of the constituent features of perceptual noema, and, by extension, the same relationships of meaning described in his account of Gestalt Contextures see Gurwitsch As such, it is little wonder that Garfinkel states: In essence the distinctive difference between sociological approaches and ethnomethodology is that the latter adopts a commonsense attitude towards knowledge.

For the ethnomethodologist, the methodic realisation of social scenes takes place within the actual setting under scrutiny, and is structured by the participants in that setting through the reflexive accounting of that setting's features. The job of the Ethnomethodologist is to describe the methodic character of these activities, not account for them in a way that transcends that which is made available in and through the actual accounting practices of the individual's party to those settings.

The differences can therefore be summed up as follows: While traditional sociology usually offers an analysis of society which takes the facticity factual character, objectivity of the social order for granted, ethnomethodology is concerned with the procedures practices, methods by which that social order is produced, and shared.

While traditional sociology usually provides descriptions of social settings which compete with the actual descriptions offered by the individuals who are party to those settings, ethnomethodology seeks to describe the procedures practices, methods these individuals use in their actual descriptions of those settings Links with phenomenology[ edit ] Main article: Phenomenology philosophy Even though ethnomethodology has been characterised as having a "phenomenological sensibility", [13] and reliable commentators have acknowledged that "there is a strong influence of phenomenology on ethnomethodology The confusion between the two disciplines stems, in part, from the practices of some ethnomethodologists including Garfinkelwho sift through phenomenological texts, recovering phenomenological concepts and findings relevant to their interests, and then transpose these concepts and findings to topics in the study of social order.

Such interpretive transpositions do not make the ethnomethodologist a phenomenologist, or ethnomethodology a form of phenomenology. To further muddy the waters, some phenomenological sociologists seize upon ethnomethodological findings as examples of applied phenomenology; this even when the results of these ethnomethodological investigations clearly do not make use of phenomenological methods, or formulate their findings in the language of phenomenology.

So called phenomenological analyses of social structures that do not have prima facie reference to any of the structures of intentional consciousness should raise questions as to the phenomenological status of such analyses. Garfinkel speaks of phenomenological texts and findings as being "appropriated" and intentionally "misread" for the purposes of exploring topics in the study of social order. Even though ethnomethodology is not a form of phenomenology, the reading and understanding of phenomenological texts, and developing the capability of seeing phenomenologically is essential to the actual doing of ethnomethodological studies.

As Garfinkel states in regard to the work of the phenomenologist Aron Gurwitsch, especially his "Field of Consciousness"