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Defined as the study of phenomenon, phenomenology has had its primary influence on ethnomethodology. In the early development of phenomenology a distinction was drawn between phenomena (things as they appear in our experience) and noumena (things as they are in themselves). Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) believed that all we can ever know are the former. Edmund Husserl (1859-1938) argued that natural and social environments differ in that social objects appear only as perceived objects (ie: there is no ‘noumena’), they depend on human recognition for their existence and because of this social reality is in constant flux and ambiguity. Social reality is only an experienced reality rather than a natural reality. The experience of objects, events, activities, etc., is all there is. By accepting this claim, ethnomethodology has emerged as the study of the creation of social reality through mundane reasoning, account giving or the use of documentary method. The concreteness or factuality of the social world is seen to be an accomplishment of members of society and the methods of this accomplishment are the topic of investigation.

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Athabaca University ICAAP

© Robert Drislane, Ph.D. and Gary Parkinson, Ph.D.
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*This social science dictionary has 1000
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