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Let's Go Garfinkeling


If you have ever taken an introduction to sociology class, you have probably already been sent out to break a social norm and report on the aftermath. Rather than do that, try deconstructing more mundane conversations to discover how something taken-for-granted gets accomplished.

In the reading, Garfinkel describes a conversation between a student and his wife about going to a shoe repair shop. The student then analyzed what was taken-for-granted in order for the conversation to unfold smoothly. For this activity, report your own conversation with a friend or relative about something mundane like going to a shoe repair store and then analyze what common understandings were necessary to “accomplish” the conversation. Then, choose a short conversation from another setting, like a social networking site or an interview on the news, and do the same thing. How did the context, if at all, shape what was required for the conversation to happen? Report your conversations and answer to this question below.

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