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Qxd 7/27/2006 34 6:03 PM Page 34 An Invitation to Ethnomethodology the Chicago tradition could be accused of neglecting what was ordinary, mundane and familiar. Perhaps unjustifiably, this left such studies open to charges of voyeurism and sensationalism. Thus symbolic interactionist ethnographies were sardonically described by some critics as having a preoccupation with ‘nuts, sluts and perverts’ (Liazos, 1972). qxd 7/27/2006 6:03 PM Page 35 3 Ethnomethodology and Self-Reflection Once upon a time in sociology ‘armchair theorizing’ was a phrase used to caricature a particular kind of sociological practice, one that seemed to be out of touch with the realities of people’s lives in society.

Indeed, in our view there is far too little armchair research in sociology, using the method we outline in what follows. Sociology has developed elaborate and specialized techniques for gathering information that will enable it to describe and explain the social world. Such techniques presuppose that the social world is out there awaiting discovery. However, as we have emphasized earlier, the researcher is as much a part of the social world as anyone else. In an important sense, therefore, the social world is as much ‘in here’ as it is ‘out there’.

As we pointed out in Chapter 2, our particular ‘take’ on the relationship between our everyday action and experience and our membership of society is to view our experiences and our actions as ‘productions’. For example, in relation to experiences, we recognize a person, understand what is meant by what they say, feel sorrow or joy at their actions, feel guilt or remorse in relation to our own actions and so forth by virtue of our membership in society. Likewise, we are able to request a favour or return one, recognize a joke and also tell one, laugh on cue when told a joke by someone else, agree or disagree with a stated opinion or argument and so forth by means of our social competence.

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