This paper examines whether social workers and other direct service practitioners can find utility in ethnomethodology despite or even because of the policy of “indifference”. Garfinkel, the father of ethnomethodology (EM), sets out “ethnomethodological indifference” (EM-I) to insist that EM studies do not supplement, formulate remedies, develop humanistic arguments, or encourage discussions of theory. While at first blush such limits on EM might appear to be a barrier for most social workers this paper argues against first impressions. It is argued that EM provides an important redirection for social work practice and research. Additionally, it is proposed that by approaching EM through Dorothy Smith’s Institutional Ethnography social workers can bridge Garfinkel’s quest for haeccities (“just thisness; just here, just now”) with extended social relations and actual courses of actions to find congruence between EM and accomplished professional practice.

Additional Metadata
Keywords Ethnomethodological indifference, Ethnomethodology, Institutional ethnography, Social work
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10746-016-9405-5
Journal Human Studies
Citation
deMontigney, G. (2017). Ethnomethodological Indifference: Just a Passing Phase?. Human Studies, 40(3), 331–364. doi:10.1007/s10746-016-9405-5