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LRDG - What can ethnomethodology do for academic literacies?

Date: 22 November 2011 Time: 1 - 2 pm

Venue: C89, County South

Paul Smith (Manchester University) will be speaking on:

What can ethnomethodology do for academic literacies?

One could be forgiven for thinking that ethnomethodology (EM) offers little to the study of literacy beyond the contribution of conversation analysis (CA), which is often seen as a mode of 'discourse analysis', i.e. a formal mode of analysis. This is to ignore EM's radical respecification of the social sciences, which sees in social life that there is already always "order at all points".

EM studies tend to replicate and address concerns also found in the work in the New Literacy Studies, and has generally concluded these concerns to its own satisfaction through methods suggested by its very point of departure from formal social science. Prominent examples are its abandoning of common social science dualisms; dissolving the text/context distinction; and its distinctive approach to 'situated' phenomena. Moreover, ideas such as reflexivity, indexicality and orientation reach their fullest expression in EM.

This paper will outline some ways in which EM has confronted and - for its own purposes - solved such issues. I suggest that these solutions could be of benefit to related practice disciplines. The paper also examines a draft student essay with accompanying feedback, with the aim of finding practices rather than analysing text.

Event website:


Who can attend: Anyone


Further information

Associated staff: Karin Tusting

Organising departments and research centres: Educational Research, Lancaster Literacy Research Centre, Linguistics and English Language

Keywords: Ethnomethodology, Literacies, Literacy practices


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Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
Lancaster University
Lancaster LA1 4YD
United Kingdom

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