An Excursion into Creative Sociology

An Excursion into Creative Sociology

An Excursion into Creative Sociology

An Excursion into Creative Sociology

Excerpt

"Creative sociology" includes ethnomethodology, symbolic interaction, neo- symbolic interaction, phenomenology, and existentialism--terms that trip impressively off the tongue but are understood clearly by only a relatively few initiates. The most recent among these approaches is ethnomethodology, which has its foundations in Schutzian phenomenology. Its proponents present their programmatic statements in language so obscure that many readers become quickly confused, frustrated, and discouraged. Terminology is introduced that is far from self-explanatory, sentences are tortuous, much chaff surrounds the wheat of wisdom that awaits those patient enough to sift through the terrible wordiness.

This book has developed from my efforts over the past years to "demystify" these approaches to the study of society for my students. I cannot claim that this is the definitive work in phenomenology, symbolic interaction, ethnomethodology, or any of the other approaches that belong in the category "creative sociology"; neither do I pretend to present a comprehensive and complete explanation of any one of them. My aim is to simplify profoundly complex concepts without rendering them simplistic and to encourage readers to venture into the deeper waters of the original writings.

As its title suggests, this book is intended as an appetizer, a fancy-tickler--a trip, if you will--an introduction to some intriguing ways of looking into what is so familiar that we do not consider it in any way problematic. Creative sociology takes the familiar, the ordinary, the commonplace, taken-for-granted world and examines it as though it were strange. For creative sociologists, the "solidness" of social structures is illusory, mythical, fleeting. Social organization, as well as the human self, is seen as a process, analogous to a river: flowing, changing, ever moving, altering direction over a period of time. In the village of Bramber in Sussex, one can see several old houses with jetties projecting into open, green fields. Centuries ago, when the houses were built, they backed onto . . .

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