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'We must put ourselves in the position of the subject who tries to find his way in this world, and we must remember, first of all, that the environment by which he is influenced and to which he adapts himself is his world, not the objective world of science.'

W.I. Thomas
and
F. Znaniecki

Qualitative Sociology Review
2005
Volume I Issue 1


Author-Supplied Abstracts & Keywords


 Tim J. Berard
     Kent State University, Ohio, USA

Evaluative Categories of Action and Identity in Non-Evaluative Human Studies Research: Examples from Ethnomethodology

Ethnomethodologists have emphasized the pragmatic and contextual nature of description as a variety of social practice, and have suggested the ramifications of this insight for the methodology and philosophy of the social sciences. However, ethnomethodologists have thereby invited difficult questions about the moral and analytic status of their own descriptions. Drawing on Atkinson's study of suicide verdicts and Coulter's writings on schizophrenia, ethnomethodological scholarship is shown to display the possibility and promise of disinterested description, even when the subject matter involves the evaluation of problematic actions and identities. The combination of Wittgensteinian logical grammar and empirical studies of natural language use, suggested by Coulter, is presented as especially relevant and remarkable for purposes of studying social practices including describing, naming, categorizing, classifying, labeling, diagnosing, reaching a verdict, and kindred practices of language use conceived as varieties of practical action.

Keywords:
description, ethnomethodology, evaluation, Jeff Coulter, discrimination, labeling, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Peter Winch, schizophrenia, suicide.
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 Katarzyna Kosmala
     Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh, UK

Insights From Ricoeur's Hermeneutics on Best Pactice in Professional Service Firms: On Perpetual Myth Creation?

Drawing on the work of Ricoeur, this paper contributes to theorisation of the organisational field in understanding of how structural power operates through professional langue in shaping a construction of individual judgement in professional service firms. As Ricoeur argued that judicial sense may be envisaged as one of the best examples of hermeneutic application, I explore practitioners' sense making and their interaction with the surrounding structures and its discourse, learned and assimilated during the formative years in the context of audit practice.

The interviews-based story provides an illustration of (1) the processes of socialisation that are geared towards conceptions of what constitutes professional best practice, where the professional learns to use judgement and follow structure in particular ways (a perpetuated myth of best practice), and (2) the effects of such formation on the working process. The paper contributes insights into organisational theory in areas of negotiating a balance between institutional requirements (structural conditioning of professional epistemology) and technical demands of hermeneutic function (purposive expert activities) in decision making process.

The paper concludes that practitioners assume the appearance of professionalism by adopting a particular professional langue where judgement becomes normative in its own terms. These re-production processes in accordance with organisational frames of references for action may be in opposition to the decisional autonomy, where there may be a space for simultaneously creating (agency) and sharing (structure) on the job. The study reveals that professional langue itself is a place of prejudice and bias on the job.

Keywords:
judgement, structure, organisational practice, socialisation, hermeneutics.
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 Andrew J. Bell
     University of Edinburgh, UK

"Oh yes, I remember it well!" Reflections on Using the Life-Grid in Qualitative Interviews with Couples

The life-grid has previously been used as a tool for improving the reliability of retrospective data in epidemiology. Recent research has suggested that the life-grid may also prove a useful tool for qualitative sociological interviewing, by facilitating the asking of difficult questions and acting as an aide memoire. This paper describes a pilot study which examines the influences the life-grid has upon qualitative interviews with married couples. It finds that use of the life-grid limits interviewees' willingness to revisit topics, tends to create "event-centred", non-reflexive, data and does not facilitate the asking of difficult questions. This paper does find that the life-grid acts to stimulate recall, but in a limited, factual fashion. It concludes that the life-grid is unlikely to prove an appropriate tool for qualitative researchers in its present form.

Keywords:
Life-grid, retrospective data, qualitative interviewing, recall, couples, reflexivity.
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 Krzysztof T. Konecki
     Lodz University, Poland

The Problem of Symbolic Interaction and of Constructing Self

In the article we make an analysis of a thesis that verbal symbolic interaction is a necessary condition of constructing self. The main concepts used in the paper are: symbolic interaction, self and corporality. The aforementioned thesis and the concept of symbolic interaction originate from G.H Mead, who set the trend of thinking about interaction in human society in sociology and social psychology. This influence is noticeable up to this day. Symbolic interaction as a tool of understanding others actions and informing partners about our intensions is clearly visible in 'language-centred' and anthropocentrically oriented analyses of interactions as well as in the concentration on linguistic conditions of creating a self. Self is understood as an interpreted concept of a person but mainly in a process of social perception of a human by others occurring in interactions based on verbal language. In the article we want to develop a thesis about 'non-linguistic' possibilities of constructing interactions and self. The aforementioned thesis has been many times elaborated so far together with critical analyses of G. H. Mead (Irvin, 2004, Sanders, 1993, 1999, 2003; Myers, 1999, 2003). We want to integrate these elaborations, including our empirical experiences from a research on "The Social World of Pet's Owners' (research done in 2001-2005) on theoretical level and concentrate more on corporality and emotions issues and their relations to symbolic interaction and self. G.H. Mead's views on this topic are analysed with regard to their methodological consistency and adequacy. In the article there is another thesis proposed, that interactions between animals also have meanings and, sometimes, symbolic nature, or sometimes, non symbolic one, and not necessarily related to use of a verbal language. The creation of self is connected with issues of corporality that includes: 1. non-verbal communication, 2. a relation of bodies in physical space, 3. the so called 'kinesthetic empathy', 4. emotions connected with body, mind and self processes.

Keywords:
symbolic interaction, self, corporality, body, non - verbal communication, emotions.
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