|Author(s)||Dirk vom Lehn|
|Editor(s)||Michael Hviid Jacobsen|
|Tag(s)||EMCA, history, theory, Garfinkel|
|Publisher||Palgrave Macmillan UK|
|Book title||The Interactionist Imagination: Studying Meaning, Situation and Micro-Social Order|
This chapter is concerned with Harold Garfinkel (1917–2011), the founder of ethnomethodology. When Garfinkel began the development of ethnomethodology in the 1940s the foundations for interactionist sociology had already been laid by the American pragmatists and the Chicago School of Sociology. At the time, he studied for a PhD with Talcott Parsons at Harvard and regularly met with Alfred Schutz who had written on phenomenology and its relevance to understand the everyday. Garfinkel used his knowledge of Parsons and Schutz to develop, what he called then, a ‘sociological attitude’. This sociological attitude involved a critique of existing sociological theory and approaches to sociological research as they created description of the social world that had nothing in common with the social world as experienced by the actors themselves. In this chapter, I will discuss Garfinkel’s critique of contemporary sociology, and in particular I will explore how he resolved the problem of ‘social order’ whilst at the same time radicalizing the notion of ‘situatedness’ as a fundamental property of meaning and situations. The chapter will begin with an embedding of the emergence of ethnomethodology in Garfinkel’s academic biography. It then will discuss how the notion of ‘indexicality’ has influenced the development of ethnomethodology and related approaches. The chapter will be brought to a close with a discussion about the importance of Garfinkel and ethnomethodology for the further development of interactionist sociology.