Exploring the distinctive ontological attitude of ethnomethodology via suicide, death, and money

Hammersley, Martyn (2019). Exploring the distinctive ontological attitude of ethnomethodology via suicide, death, and money. Journal of Classical Sociology, 19(2) pp. 185–204.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/1468795x18772803


The focus of this article is the character of ethnomethodology and its relation to mainstream sociology, specifically as regards assumptions about the nature of social phenomena and the attitude that ought to be adopted towards these. This issue is explored mainly through the example of suicide, which has been used by some ethnomethodologists to highlight the distinctiveness of their position. The viability of three interpretations of ethnomethodology is assessed: as being agnostic regarding the ontological status of suicide and other social phenomena, as insisting that such phenomena are entirely constituted in and through processes of social interaction on particular occasions, and as itself constituting the world as one in which social phenomena are occasioned products. It is argued that none of these is sustainable, but that the plausibility of the second varies somewhat across different types of phenomena, with money being even more evidently constituted through ongoing social interaction than is suicide or death.

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  • Item ORO ID
  • 55264
  • Item Type
  • Journal Item
  • ISSN
  • 1741-2897
  • Keywords
  • Constructionism; ethnomethodology; Garfinkel; Sharrock; suicide
  • Academic Unit or School
  • Faculty of Wellbeing, Education and Language Studies (WELS)
  • Copyright Holders
  • © 2018 The Author
  • SWORD Depositor
  • Jisc Publications-Router
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  • Jisc Publications-Router