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Symbolic Interaction and Ethnographic Research
Intersubjectivity and the Study of Human Lived Experience
Symbolic Interaction and Ethnographic Research
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Robert Prus - Author
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Hardcover - 326 pages
Release Date: November 1995
ISBN10: 0-7914-2701-3
ISBN13: 978-0-7914-2701-9

Out of Print
Price: $33.95 
Paperback - 326 pages
Release Date: November 1995
ISBN10: 0-7914-2702-1
ISBN13: 978-0-7914-2702-6

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Summary Read First Chapter image missing

Examines a series of theoretical and methodological issues faced by social scientists in interpretive and ethnographic studies of human group life.

Choice Outstanding Academic Books 1996


"I think that this book could become the single, most definitive dissenting statement about postmodern ethnography. An erudite treatise of the epistemological underpinnings and practical realities of ethnographic research, it provides a timely, thoughtful, and provocative treatment of major debates about doing ethnographic research and social science inquiry. It does not simply make another contribution to the literature, it represents the author's mature reflections that can only come through deep involvement in the issues throughout an entire career. In this way, the book is a culminating piece of work that pulls together and explicates crucial debates about the nature, significance, and representation of ethnographic research. Prus' work is a crowning intellectual accomplishment." -- Kathy Charmaz, Sonoma State University

At the heart of the sociological enterprise is the idea that human behavior is the product of community life; that people's behaviors cannot be reduced to individual properties. A major task facing sociologists ( and social scientists more generally), revolves around the study of the accomplishment of intersubjectivity; that is, indicating how people become social entities and how they attend to one another and the products of human endeavor on a day-to-day basis.

Taking issue with both positivist and postmodernist orientations to the social sciences, the approach taken here insists that the theory and methods of the social sciences respect "the actualities of human group life." The objective is to establish a greater (epistemological) coherence between the theory, methods, and research which typifies the social sciences, and the actual, ongoing practices and experiences of those who constitute the human community. This necessitates a radical reorientation of our images of science generally, but most particularly of the "scientific method" as this pertains to the study of the human condition.

Focusing on the "doing" of everyday life, this volume examines a series of theoretical and methodological issues entailed in an interpretive/ethnographic study of human group life. The ideas developed here deal with the historical roots, assumptions, variants, concepts and literature characterizing an interpretive/ethnographic approach to the study of human behavior and examine many of the major issues and obstacles facing those embarking on the study of human lived experience.

Robert Prus is Professor of Sociology at the University of Waterloo. He has also written Hookers, Rounders, and Desk Clerks: The Social Organization of the Hotel Community; Pursuing Customers: An Ethnography of Marketing Activities; Making Sales: Influence as Interpersonal Accomplishment; Road Hustler: Grifters, Magic, and the Their Subculture; and Doing Everyday Life: Ethnography as Human Lived Experience.


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Table of Contents

Foreword by Kathy Charmaz
Preface
Acknowledgments

1. STUDYING HUMAN LIVED EXPERIENCE
An Introduction to the Intersubjective Enterprise

Social Science and an Introduction to the Postitivist-Interpretivist Debate
Symbolic Interaction and the Study of Human Lived Experience
Ethnographic Research: The Quest for Intimate Familiarity
Overview of the Volume

2. INTERPRETIVE ROOTS
Experience as Intersubjective Reality

The Hermeneutic (Interpretive) Tradition

Wilhelm Dilthey: Interpretation as Intersubjectivity
Georg Simmel: Form and Content
Max Weber: Emphasizing and Obscuring Verstehen Sociology
Wilhelm Wundt: Intersubjective Dimensions of Folk Psychology

American Pragmatism: Practical Accomplishment
Early Interactionism: Theory and Methods

Charles Horton Cooley: Language, Process, and Sympathetic Introspection
George Herbert Mead: Mind, Self, and Society in Action

Conclusion

3. CONTEMPORARY VARIANTS OF THE INTERPRETIVE TRADITION
Symbolic Interaction et al.

Chicago-Style Symbolic Interaction: Herbert Blumer
Other Variants of the Interpretive Approach

The Iowa School of Symbolic Interaction
Dramaturgical Sociology
Labeling Theory
Phenomenological Sociology
The Philosophical Underpinnings of Everyday Life
Reality Construction Theory
Ethnomethodology

Structuration Theory
The New (Constructionist) Sociology of Science

4. THE ETHNOGRAPHIC RESEARCH TRADITION
Encountering the Other

Historical and Anthropological Dimensions of Ethnographic Research
Ethnography as a Sociological Venture: Field Research at the University of Chicago

Albion Small: Organizer and Facilitator
William Isaac Thomas (and Florian Znaniecki): The Polish Peasant
George Herbert Mead: Symbolic Significances of the Human Group
Ellsworth Faris: Ethnographer in the Shadows
Robert Ezra Park and Ernest Burgess: Exploring the City
Student Ethnographies: Learning by Doing

Chicago Sociology in Transition

Everett Hughes: Sociologist at Work
Herbert Blumer: Providing the Conceptual Base
Carrying On the Tradition

5 GENERIC SOCIAL PROCESS
Transcontextualizing Ethnographic Inquiry

Generic Social Processes and the Study of Human Group Life

The Chicago Influence
Other Statements on Generic Social Processes

Achieving Ethnographic Transcontextuality

Acquiring Perspectives
Achieving Identity
Being Involved
Doing Activity
Experiencing Relationships
Forming and Coordinating Associations

Conclusions

6 EXPERIENCING EMOTIONALITY
Affectivity as a Generic Social Process

Emotionality: Interactionist Dimensions

Learning to Define Emotional Experiences
Developing Techniques for Expressing and Controlling Emotional Experiences
Experiencing Emotional Episodes and Entanglements

Emotionality and the Ethnographer Self

Sustaining the Ethnographic Focus
Ethnographic Research and Generic Social Processes
Managing and Expressing Emotionality in the Field

7. BETWIXT POSITIVIST PROCLIVITIES AND POSTMODERNIST PROPENSITIES
Pursuing the Pragmatics of Presence through the Ethnographic Other

Positivist/Structuralist Social Science: Premises, Pursuits, and Pitfalls

Positivist Physical Science and Social Science Orientations
Positivist Dilemmas: Epistemological Challenges and Motivated Resistances
Synthesis and Reconciliations: Feasibilities and Practical Limitations

Postmodernist Propensities: Nietzschean Skepticism, Linguistic Reductionism, and Mixed Agendas
Postmodernist Methodological Resurrectionism: Representing and Obscuring the Ethnographic Other

8. OBDURATE REALITY AND THE INTERSUBJECTIVE OTHER
The Problematics of Representation and the Privilege of Presence (with Lorne Dawson)

On the Nature of "Obdurate Reality"
The Problematics of Representation and the "Privilege of Presence"

References
Index of Names
Index of Terms



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