Garfinkel: Members’ Methods of Producing Order

  • Feifei Zhou


Ethnomethodology, on the one hand, acknowledges the ambiguous, indeterminate, highly dynamic nature of social reality in which all of us live, on the other hand, it believes in the organized nature of social situations and the patternedness of social members’ methods. In a word, as is summarized by Atkinson and Drew (1979, p. 20), in order to provide an adequate theory of social order, ethnomethodology aims to be ‘neither so inflexible or rigid that it lacks any sensitivity to the potentially infinite range of contextual variation in the world, nor so inflexible or loose that nothing at all is held to be general across different contexts.’ In this chapter, I will first introduce some important conceptualizations in ethnomethodology such as the role of social members, intelligible meaning-making, indexicality and reflexivity, which are central to Garfinkel’s solution of the problem of social order. In particular, we will see how his linguistically charged accounts provide fruitful possibilities to conceptualize the languaging social actor beyond the system view as outlined in Part I. Following that, I will analyze the methodological difficulties inherent in Garfinkel’s project.


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© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Feifei Zhou
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of EnglishLingnan UniversityHong KongChina

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