Phenomenological Sociology and Ethnomethodology: The Everyday Life World of Common Sense

In contrast to the emphasis of symbolic interaction theory on language and overt communication, the theoretical perspectives to be examined in this chapter—phenomenological sociology and ethnomethodology—concentrate on implicit and taken-for-granted assumptions that simply “go without saying.” Like symbolic interaction theory, these perspectives tend to focus on the micro level but their implications extend to the meso and macro levels as well.

The importance of implicitly shared perspectives can readily be appreciated when we consider that everyday life conversations are often fragmentary and ambiguous and require some minimal knowledge of the context to be understood. Interpreting the meaning of both words and actions requires implicit background knowledge acquired through shared experiences. If an outsider has difficulty in understanding due to limited experience, an insider may be expected to explain. This explanation will employ words, and the ability to understand these words in context may require additional background information.


Social World Social Construction Institutional Structure Mutual Understanding Subjective Consciousness 
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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

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