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Experiment In Ethnomethodology Essay

734 words - 3 pages

Ethnomethodology is a sociological discipline which examines the ways which people make sense of the world around them, show this understanding to others, and produce the social environment in which they live. (Poore, 2000) The term was initially coined by Harold Garfinkel, a sociologist who was particularly interested in “taken-for-granted assumptions”; the unspoken rules which guide social interaction between people in everyday life. These rules can be seen in any social environment, in almost any type of interaction which occurs between two or more people. One such event which creates several unspoken rules is one which is performed daily by every student at Stonehill College; simply walking around campus. While this may seem like an uneventful routine, to a close observer, there are actually many nuances which are respected by nearly every participant and, when not respected, tend to create general disorder and aversion.One of the most simple and least realized rules of walking around campus is that, typically, a person stays on the right side of a path when passing others. This is an unspoken rule that most people learn from a young age from adults, who stay on the right side of halls and paths in the same way they always drive on the right side of a road. A second rule is that a person should walk at an average, constant pace which is fairly consistent to others walking around campus. Running, walking extremely slow, or changing pace frequently can disturb others who are in close proximity. Another important rule is to recognize anyone decently familiar with by some sort of acknowledgement, be it a nod of the head, a wave, or spoken greeting. This rule can be broken however if one of the people appears to be sufficiently absorbed by some other cause, such as a cell phone, MP3 player, or in a general rush. Finally, if a person is holding a conversation with at least one other person while walking and on a path wide enough to support those involved, the two must walk side by side, rather than one person walking directly in front of or behind the other.When these rules are violated a wide array of reactions can be seen, depending on which...

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