Human Studies

, Volume 35, Issue 4, pp 519–537 | Cite as

Suspending Belief and Suspending Doubt: The Everyday and the Virtual in Practices of Factuality

  • Nicolas J. Zaunbrecher
Theoretical / Philosophical Paper


From an ethnomethodological perspective, this article describes social actors’ everyday and virtual stances in terms of their practices of provisional doubt and belief for the purpose of fact-establishment. Facts are iterated, reinforced, elaborated, and transformed via phenomenal practices configuring relations of equipment, interpretation, and method organized as “other” than, but relevant to, the everyday. Such practices in scientific research involve forms of suspended belief; in other areas they can instead involve forms of suspended doubt. As an illuminating example of this latter class of virtual fact-establishment practices, I offer an extended analysis of the “yes; and…” principle of information-establishment used in improvisational theatre to progressively develop the content of a performance.


Ethnomethodology Fact-establishment Mundaneity Practices of virtuality Improvisational theatre (improv) 



I am grateful to Nathan Stucky, John T. Warren, Ross Singer, and two anonymous reviewers for valuable discussions and suggestions for revision. Special thanks is also due to Lenore Langsdorf for introducing me to many of the key concepts employed in this article.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Lenoir-Rhyne UniversityHickoryUSA

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