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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
2006
Volume II Issue 3


Author-Supplied Abstracts & Keywords


Robert Prus
     University of Waterloo, USA

In defense of knowing, in defense of doubting: Cicero engages totalizing skepticism, sensate materialism, and pragmatist realism in Academica

Whereas contemporary scholars in the social sciences and humanities often envision themselves as exceptionally, if not uniquely attentive to the problematics of human knowing and acting, the competing philosophies of totalizing skepticism, sensate materialism, divine worldviews, and pragmatist realism have a much more enduring presence in Western social thought.
Plato (c420-348BCE) introduces a broad array of philosophic standpoints (theological, idealist, skepticist, materialist, and pragmatist) in his texts and Aristotle (c384-322BCE) addresses human knowing and acting in more distinctively secular, pluralist terms. Still, more scholarly considerations of human knowing and acting would be comparatively neglected by Cicero's time and even more so after his era.
Although much overlooked by those in the human sciences, Cicero's Academica re-engages a number of highly consequential issues pertaining to the matter of human knowing and acting. Likewise, whereas Christian theologians often were hostile to heathen (relativist, materialist, pragmatist) philosophic viewpoints, important residues of these approaches would remain part of the Western intellectual tradition though Augustine's (c354-430 BCE) works.
Academica is centered on the historically sustained skepticist emphases of Plato's Academy (c350-50CE) but Cicero's text also attends to some competing viewpoints that developed along the way. In addition to (1) acknowledging some of the intellectual shifts in Plato's Academy over three centuries, this statement also (2) provides a pragmatist critique of the totalizing skepticism of the Academics, and (3) illustrates the ways in which Cicero, as a representative and defender of Academic skepticism, deals with critiques pertaining to the problem of human knowing and acting.
Thus, whereas Cicero is best known as a rhetorician and his text is presented as an instance of rhetorical interchange, Cicero's Academica also may be seen as "a defense of knowing" and "a defense of doubting," two of the most central features of scholarship.

Keywords:
knowledge, skepticism, pragmatism, realism, relativism, symbolic interactionism, postmodernism Cicero, Plato's Academy .
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Thomas J. Scheff
     University of California, USA

Concepts and concept formation: Goffman and beyond

The social and behavioral sciences need distinctive concepts to escape entrapment in cultural assumptions. Currently there are several sources for concepts, but vernacular words are most frequently used. These words are usually ambiguous and may reaffirm the status quo. This essay proposes that a new approach is implied in Goffman's work. Most of the new terms he invented went undefined. However, he can be seen as struggling in much of his writing to develop two basic components of the "looking-glass self", awareness structures and embarrassment. His method seems to have involved using many vernacular cognates and close examination of detailed examples of each concept. The implication is that it might be possible to ground concepts by 1. Listing and examining links to vernacular and technical cognates, and 2. Closely exploring many concrete examples. A study of one type of awareness structure, collective denial (Zerubavel 2006), can also be used to illustrate the potential of this method.

Keywords:
grounded concepts, Erving Goffman, research methods, concrete examples, cognates, awareness structures, embarrassment.
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Andrew Carlin
    St Columb's College, Northern Ireland

'Rose's gloss': Considerations of natural sociology and ethnography in practice

This paper explores the nature and use of 'Rose's Gloss' for ethnographic research. Rose's Gloss is a technique - credited to Edward Rose, late of the University of Colorado at Boulder - for eliciting information from members of society without imposing methodologically ironic categories onto members' responses. This facilitates what Rose called 'natural' (people's own) rather than 'professional' (stipulative) sociology, which is the distinctive feature of the 'Ethno-Inquiries' approach to social research that he pioneered. A pilgrimage to Jerusalem provided unexpected opportunities to document the worded nature of social life. The pilgrimage demonstrates how Rose's Gloss can be used as an ethnographic practice to pass as a competent participant in study sites.

Keywords:
Description, Edward Rose, Ethno-Inquiries, Ethnomethodology, Fieldnotes, Holy Land, Jerusalem, Observation, Pilgrimage, Passing.
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Izabela Wagner
     Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, Paris, France

Career coupling: Career making in the elite world of musicians and scientists

This article analyzes the interaction between the careers of people working in artistic and intellectual worlds. Two ethnographic studies constitute the basis for the analysis of career building in connection with the careers of other actors. The concept of career coupling represents the process by which professional success is achieved through the forging of relationships between novice and elite actors. Career coupling in the social world of virtuoso musicians is compared to that of career coupling in the social world of elite scientists. It was found that both groups achieve status in a similar fashion by moving through a three-stage process: (1) matching; (2) active collaboration; and, (3) passive collaboration. It is argued that the analysis of career coupling developed here can also be transferred to other professional fields.

Keywords:
Career, professional strategies, socialisation, education of elites, higher education.
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