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date: 08 April 2020

Abstract and Keywords

The chapter considers the work of Harold Garfinkel, the founder of ethnomethodology. It explores the institutionalization of ethnomethodology as a recognized way of doing sociology, and the relationship between ethnomethodology and organization studies. These are political as well intellectual processes, and the chapter describes the reception ethnomethodology received as a radical and unsettling approach. Ethnomethodology poses a series of intriguing challenges to organization studies, not least because it is one of the few sociological—non-empiricist, non-behaviourist, non-positivistic—approaches for analysing the constitution of ‘real time’ organizational actions, detailing artful and creative uses of talk and embodied activity. How far ethnomethodology fits with other perspectives in the field remains a moot point, albeit one that is slowly becoming clearer following recent publications on this topic. The chapter ends with a brief discussion of how ethnomethodological principles might be applied to the study of bureaucracy and ‘the body’.

Keywords: ethnomethodology, Garfinkel, conversational analysis, mundane activities, bureaucracy

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