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Ethnomethodology is a recently developed sociological approach that seeks to analyze the full range of rules that people follow in everyday social interaction According to ethnomethodologists all common social interaction between members of a group is governed by certain folk rules The members of the group ethno have available to them a body of common sense knowledge and assumptions about the world methods which they use to make sense of their worldHarold Garfinkel coined the term ethnomethodology when he was studying jury deliberation in 1945 In his book Rules Garfinkel wondered how jurors could work together and reach decisions without having known each other before and without understanding the technical rules of law He decided that there must be a set of rules called ethnomethods that we all share and that we can call on for knowledge of how to behave in novel situations as on a jury These ethnomethods in other words are a sort of shorthand that allow people to communicate and interact effectively Wallace Wolf p258Ethnomethodologists share with Goffman and the dramaturgical approach an interest in the techniques that people use to create impressions in social situations but they ask a different question about techniques They ask How do such techniques or rules help form a common sense of reality a feeling among people that their meanings are shared In common with symbolic interactionists ethnomethodologists focus on the process of social interaction rather than on larger social structures While symbolic interactionists see the rules by which we interact as an outcome of the process of interaction however ethnomethodologists arent really interested in the origins of these rules Rather they are interested in the way people draw on the rules to know how to interact in a given situationWallace Wolf p321The folk rules that govern social interaction involve a great many implicit understandings and expectations or background assumptions that people have about one another These background assumptions are generally so taken
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