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Title: Ethnographies of Reason
Contributor(s): Livingston, Eric  (author)
Publication Date: 2008
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Abstract: his book presents a fundamentally different, ethnographic approach to the study of skill and reasoning. It grew from a collection of studies of how people do the little things in life: work on crossword puzzles, play games of checkers, use volumetric pipettes, keep their family refrigerators in order, drive cars through four-way stop intersections, make origami models, prove theorems of elementary geometry. From the point of view of professional sociology, these studies shared one undesirable characteristic: they really were just studies of how people work on jigsaw puzzles, play solitaire, and do physics experiments. As much as the studies might have revealed about skill and reasoning, the stories I had to tell were small stories about the ways that people do things. The larger point for and about the sociological discipline was missing. While a totalizing narrative would have been convenient, such a perspective wasn't available to me nor did creating one make much sense. Instead, I wanted to find an emerging coherence of the studies by going deeper into each of them. Ethnographies of Reason is the result of this project. It's a study of skill and reasoning in the ordinary activities that fill our lives. I've written the book from the perspective of a researcher, not that of a disciplinary scholar or academic historian. It's carried throughout by the examination of always concrete case-study materials, not by theoretical arguments. After some brief introductory materials, the book begins by looking at the phenomenal domain of skill and reasoning; it then describes practical techniques for learning more about that domain; it ends with the central themes that clarify and give direction to actual research. I've written the book in this way, in part, because it reflects the way I work and, in part, because it may help others find their way in studies of their own. The goal isn't to make the world whole again and return us to the speculative theorizing, hypothesized empiricism, and grand narratives of traditional sociology, but to create space and to develop techniques for learning new things.
Publication Type: Book
Publisher: Ashgate Publishing Limited
Place of Publication: Aldershot, England
ISBN: 0754671062
Field of Research (FOR): 169999 Studies in Human Society not elsewhere classified
HERDC Category Description: A1 Authored Book - Scholarly
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Extent of Pages: 270
Series Name: Directions in Ethnomethodology and Conversation Analysis
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