In founding the research approach known as ethnomethodology, Harold Garfinkel contributed ground-breaking logic and strategies to illuminate the way people jointly construct and make sense of everyday social situations. The prevalence at the time of the search for over-arching theories to predict human behaviour underscores the novelty of Garfinkel’s principles and methods, such as his famous ‘breaching experiments’. Although Garfinkel himself was suspicious of grand theorising, this chapter argues for closer conceptual attention to the shared but hidden meanings that are implicit in social interactions, which are laboriously maintained in interaction, and which make ‘society’ work. Sociology has marginalised social action theories and ethnographic research. Coupling Garfinkel’s methods for analysing ‘real-life’ situations with social action theories, such as symbolic interactionism, actor-network theory and recent incarnations of complexity theory, help guide transferable lessons from empirical research into the way workers co-construct and manage their changing environments in complex organisations.
|Title of host publication||The Palgrave handbook of social theory in health, illness and medicine|
|Place of Publication||Basingstoke, UK; New York, NY|
|Number of pages||11|
|ISBN (Print)||9781137355614, 9781349470228|
|Publication status||Published - 12 Feb 2015|