Writing Out Loud: Studies in Ethnomethodology

Garinkel’s breaching experiments expose the taken-for-granted absurdity and arbitrariness of everyday existence. Ponder the questions below as you work through the reading.

Theme: Emergence Through Convergence


  1. What does Garfinkel mean when he writes that moral facts are the “natural facts of life”?
  2. What are “background expectancies,” and how do they shape  everyday conversation?
  3. Garfinkel recounts a series of experiments/analyses that make background expectancies visible. Think of an interaction that you’ve had or observed (e.g., on television). Analyze that conversation for background expectancies, like Garfinkel’s students analyzed their conversations.
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