Garfinkel’s What is Ethnomethodology- (Quick) Summary

Garfinkel’s What is Ethnomethodology? explains the concept of ethnomethodology by which it focuses on how people interpret their social reality through their knowledge. People use conversation and gestures or social interactions to retain their sense of reality in each situation. Ethnomethodology refers to how people reflect their activities through errors and examinations of their personal experiences as they become codified; the fragments of social reality become codified through past experiences. The ad hoc becomes part of ethnomethodology since ad hoc means something created for a particular goal that is subjective to change or rejected. Garfinkel mentions that ethnomethodology refers to a study of practical actions that prone to be problematic due to subjective rules given to people. An example to explain ethnomethodology is the jury. The jury determines what decisions to go with on their actions, to determine what may or may not work for desired results. The jury discourses on the evidence of the case and follow the rules they are given by society as a whole. The jury is looking for a rational approach that will function well enough to reach the case’s ultimate decision.

Ethnomethodology seems to focus on what is accountable as a method. This method helps people determine the goals they want to reach by whatever method seems to be accountable enough. The reasoning of the methodology is individualized, which means that it is subjective to each person using to study the social order. The common sense of ethnomethodology is by a person’s common sense of reality and their social reality compared to other people’s social reality. Each person’s social reality differs from personal upbringing and knowledge, by which Garfinkel seems to advocate scholars to recognize how their interpretation is subjective by nature.