Symbolic Interaction and Ethnographic Research: Intersubjectivity and the Study of Human Lived Experience

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SUNY Press, 1996 - Social Science - 301 pages
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At the heart of the sociological enterprise is the idea that human behavior is the product of community life; that people s behaviors cannot be reduced to individual properties. A major task facing sociologists ( and social scientists more generally), revolves around the study of the accomplishment of intersubjectivity; that is, indicating how people become social entities and how they attend to one another and the products of human endeavor on a day-to-day basis.
Taking issue with both positivist and postmodernist orientations to the social sciences, the approach taken here insists that the theory and methods of the social sciences respect the actualities of human group life. The objective is to establish a greater (epistemological) coherence between the theory, methods, and research which typifies the social sciences, and the actual, ongoing practices and experiences of those who constitute the human community. This necessitates a radical reorientation of our images of science generally, but most particularly of the scientific method as this pertains to the study of the human condition.
Focusing on the doing of everyday life, this volume examines a series of theoretical and methodological issues entailed in an interpretive/ethnographic study of human group life. The ideas developed here deal with the historical roots, assumptions, variants, concepts and literature characterizing an interpretive/ethnographic approach to the study of human behavior and examine many of the major issues and obstacles facing those embarking on the study of human lived experience."
 

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User Review  - daniilkharmsarms - LibraryThing

I attended a few of R. Prus' s courses at the University of Waterloo and his approach to sociology really connected with me. This is a seminal book in his growing body of under-appreciated work. Read full review

Contents

STUDYING HUMAN LIVED EXPERIENCE An Introduction to the Intersubjective Enterprise
1
Social Science and an Introduction to the PositivistInterpretivist Debate
3
Symbolic Interaction and the Study of Human Lived Experience
10
The Quest for Intimate Familiarity
18
Overview of the Volume
21
INTERPRETIVE ROOTS Experience as Intersubjective Reality
33
The Hermeneutic Interpretive Tradition
34
Interpretation as Intersubjectivity
35
GENERIC SOCIAL PROCESSES Transcontextualizing Ethnographic Inquiry
141
Generic Social Processes and the Study of Human Group Life
142
The Chicago Influence
143
Other Statements on Generic Social Processes
145
Achieving Ethnographic Transcontextuauty
148
Acquiring Perspectives
150
Achieving Identity
152
Being Involved
153

Form and Content
39
Emphasizing and Obscuring Versteben Sociology
40
Intersubjective Dimensions of Folk Psychology
45
American Pragmatism Practical Accomplishment
46
Theory and Methods
48
Mind Self and Society in Action
52
Conclusion
59
CONTEMPORARY VARIANTS OF THE INTERPRETIVE TRADITION Symbolic Interaction et al
67
Other Variants of the Interpretive Approach
75
Dramaturgical Sociology
78
Labeling Theory
82
Phenomenological Sociology
87
Peter Berger and Thomas Luckmann
88
Harold Garfinkel
89
Structuration Theory
91
The New Constructionist Sociology of Science
94
THE ETHNOGRAPHIC RESEARCH TRADITION Encountering the Other
103
Historical and Anthropological Dimensions of Ethnographic Research
104
Field Research at the University of Chicago
113
Albion Small Organizer and Facilitator
114
Symbolic Significances of the Human Group
116
Ethnographer in the Shadows
117
Exploring the City
118
Learning by Doing
119
Chicago Sociology in Transition
124
Sociologist at Work
125
Providing the Conceptual Base
127
Carrying On the Tradition
132
Doing Activity
156
Experiencing Relationships
159
Forming and Coordinating Associations
160
Conclusion
163
EXPERIENCING EMOTIONALITY Affectivity as a Generic Social Process
173
Interactionist Dimensions
174
Learning to Define Emotional Experiences
177
Developing Techniques for Expressing and Controlling Emotional Experiences
178
Experiencing Emotional Episodes and Entanglements
179
Emotionality and the Ethnographer Self
186
Sustaining the Ethnographic Focus
187
Ethnographic Research and Generic Social Processes
188
Managing and Expressing Emotionality in the Field
190
BETWIXT POSITIVIST PROCLIVITIES AND POSTMODERNIST PROPENSITIES Pursuing the Pragmatics of Presence through the Ethnographic ...
203
Premises Pursuits and Pitfalls
205
Positivist Physical Science and Social Science Orientations
206
Epistemological Challenges and Motivated Resistances
208
Feasibilities and Practical Limitations
212
Nietzschean Skepticism Linguistic Reductionism and Mixed Agendas
217
Representing and Obscuring the Ethnographic Other
222
OBDURATE REALITY AND THE INTERSUBJECTIVE OTHER The Problematics of Representation and the Privilege of Presence with Lome Daws...
245
On the Nature of Obdurate Reality
246
The Problematics of Representation and the Privilege of Presence
250
References
259
Index of Names
289
Index of Terms
295
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About the author (1996)

Robert Prus is Professor of Sociology at the University of Waterloo. He has also written Hookers, Rounders, and Desk Clerks: The Social Organization of the Hotel Community; Pursuing Customers: An Ethnography of Marketing Activities; Making Sales: Influence as Interpersonal Accomplishment; Road Hustler: Grifters, Magic, and the Their Subculture; and Doing Everyday Life: Ethnography as Human Lived Experience.

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