Case Study

  • Feifei Zhou


Researchers in ethnomethodology have carried out, since the very beginning, a vast array of empirical studies on ordinary everyday activities in naturally occurring, mundane settings and institutionalized worksite practices such as legal studies (e.g. Atkinson & Drew, 1979; Burns, 1996; Lynch, 1982; Pollner, 1974, 1975); teaching practices (e.g. Cicourel & Kitsuse, 1963; Have, 2003; McHoul, 1978; Mehan, 1979); medical analysis (e.g. Fisher & Todd, 1983; Heath, 1986; Pomerantz, 2003; West, 1984); scientific work (e.g. Garfinkel, Lynch, & Livingston, 1981; Livingston, 1986; Lynch, 1985), etc. They are encouraged to acquire the skills of the field they are studying in order to see things in the members’ eyes and at the same time adopt a reflective stance. In the following, some earlier case studies by Garfinkel highly relevant to daily language use, naming, categorization and communicative order will be analyzed.


  1. Atkinson, J. M., & Drew, P. (1979). Order in court. Berlin: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Billig, M. (1999). Whose terms? Whose ordinariness? Rhetoric and ideology in conversation analysis. Discourse and Society, 10(4), 543–558.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Burns, S. (1996). Lawyers’ work in the Menendez brothers’ murder trial. Issues in Applied Linguistics, 7(1), 19–32.Google Scholar
  4. Cicourel, A. V., & Kitsuse, J. I. (1963). The educational decision-makers. New York: Bobbs-Merrill.Google Scholar
  5. Fisher, S., & Todd, A. D. (Eds.). (1983). The social organization of doctor-patient communication. Washington, DC: Center for Applied Linguistics.Google Scholar
  6. Garfinkel, H. (1967). Studies in ethnomethodology. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.Google Scholar
  7. Garfinkel, H. (1991). Respecification: Evidence for locally produced, naturally accountable phenomena of order, logic, reason, meaning, method, etc. in and as of the essential haecceity of immortal ordinary society, (I)—an announcement of studies. In G. Button (Ed.), Ethnomethodology and the human sciences (pp. 10–19). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Garfinkel, H. (2006). In A. W. Rawls (Ed.), Seeing sociologically: The routine grounds of social action. Boulder and London: Paradigm.Google Scholar
  9. Garfinkel, H., Lynch, M., & Livingston, E. (1981). The work of discovering science construed with materials from the optically discovered pulsar. Philosophy of the Social Sciences, 11, 131–158.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Have, P. T. (2003). Teaching students observational methods: Visual studies and visual analysis. In M. Ball (Ed.), Image work, a special issue of visual studies, 18/1.Google Scholar
  11. Heath, C. C. (1986). The partnership: Essays in the social organization of speech and body movement in the medical consultation. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  12. Heritage, J. (1984). Garfinkel and ethnomethodology. Cambridge: Polity.Google Scholar
  13. Livingston, E. (1986). The ethnomethodological foundations of mathematics. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul.Google Scholar
  14. Lynch, M. (1982). Closure and disclosure in pre-trial argument. Human Studies, 5(1), 285–318.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Lynch, M. (1985). Art and artifact in laboratory science: A study of shop work and shop talk in a research laboratory. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul.Google Scholar
  16. McHoul, A. W. (1978). The organization of turns at formal talk in the classroom. Language in Society, 7(2), 183–213.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Mehan, H. (1979). Learning lessons. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Pollner, M. (1974). Mundane reasoning. Philosophy of the Social Sciences, 4(1), 35–54.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Pollner, M. (1975). “The very coinage of your brain”: The anatomy of reality disjunctures. Philosophy of the Social Sciences, 5(3), 411–430.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Pomerantz, A. (2003). How patients handle their lay diagnoses during medical consultations. Texas Linguistic Forum, 45, 127–138.Google Scholar
  21. Sacks, H. (1984). On doing “being ordinary”. In J. M. Atkinson & J. Heritage (Eds.), Structures of social action: Studies in conversation analysis (pp. 413–429). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  22. West, C. (1984). Routine complications: Trouble with talk between doctors and patients. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.Google Scholar
  23. Wittgenstein, L. (1958). The blue and brown books. Oxford: Blackwell.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2020

Authors and Affiliations

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

Personalised recommendations