The Meeting pp 13-45 | Cite as

Occasions and Gatherings

  • Helen B. Schwartzman


There is a tradition in the social sciences that says that when researchers engage in the analysis of detailed interactional sequences between individuals, they are engaging in a microlevel study; and when investigators examine the operation of large-scale, external forces and the impact of broadly defined structures on populations and areas, they are engaging in macrolevel analysis. This tradition sets these studies in opposition to one another. There is a developing set of theoretical challenges in the social science literature that says that this distinction is false, misleading, and unproductive (see, for example, the work of Bordieu 1977; Brown 1978; Giddens 1984; Karp 1986; Marcus and Fisher 1986; McDermott and Roth 1978; Ortner 1984; Ranson, Hinings, and Greenwood 1980). I locate the theoretical review and argument that I present in this chapter in terms of these recent challenges because I believe that the study of meetings requires rethinking micro-versus macrolevel distinctions and is itself one of the important contexts for linking, theoretically and empirically, the concepts of practice, process, structure, and agency.


Organizational Life Western Desert Social Science Literature Everyday World Meeting Form 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Helen B. Schwartzman
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Anthropology and Center for Urban Affairs and Policy ResearchNorthwestern UniversityEvanstonUSA

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