, Volume 35, Issue 4, pp 479-504
Date: 06 Jun 2012

Early Glimmers of the Now Familiar Ethnomethodological Themes in Garfinkel’s “The Perception of the Other”

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Garfinkel’s dissertation, “The Perception of the Other,” was completed and defended 15 years prior to the publication of Studies in Ethnomethodology. This essay seeks hints of the familiar ethnomethodological themes (indexicality, reflexivity, accountability) within his thesis. It begins by examining the contributions of earlier social theorists, particularly Talcott Parsons and Alfred Schütz, to Garfinkel’s thought. It then examines the dissertation itself seeking evidence to support the claim that Garfinkel was already moving in the direction of an ‘incommensurable, asymmetric, and alternate’ program of sociological inquiry well before the term ‘ethnomethodology’ had even been coined.

An earlier and much abbreviated version of this paper was presented at a workshop at the 2011 IIEMCA meeting. I thank Graham Button, John Heritage, Alan Zemel and two anonymous reviewers for their thoughtful comments and suggestions on earlier drafts of this essay. Any errors or misrepresentations that remain can be attributed to the obstinacy of the author.
A comment to this article is available at http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10746-012-9251-z.