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Symbolic Interactionism and Ethnomethodology: A Proposed Synthesis

Norman K. Denzin
American Sociological Review
Vol. 34, No. 6 (Dec., 1969), pp. 922-934
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2095982
Page Count: 13
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Symbolic Interactionism and Ethnomethodology: A Proposed Synthesis
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Abstract

The basic theoretical and methodological assumptions of symbolic interactionism and ethnomethodology are compared and points of synthesis are proposed. Similarities between the two orientations are noted, and these are seen to involve the problems of social organization, methodology, socialization, deviance, social control, face-to-face interaction, and the analysis of science as a social enterprise. It is suggested that these perspectives offer a much needed view of how individuals are shaped by and, in turn, create elements of social structure. Because of their emphasis on the subjective side of social life, interactionism and ethnomethodology warrant serious consideration for their contributions to an alternative view of the individual and his social arrangements. Areas of empirical inquiry relevant to both points of view are stressed and a number of hypotheses are offered for future research. Such research, it is proposed, will shed light on what are now taken by many as irreconcilable differences between these perspectives.

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