Week 3: Ethnomethodology

Week 3: Ethnomethodology 

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  • Week 3 > Ethnomethodology 1 > Part 1 | Ethnomethodology
  • Week 3 > Ethnomethodology 1 > Part 2 | Background on Sushi
  • Week 3 > Ethnomethodology 1 > Part 3 | Sushi 1-A
  • Week 3 > Ethnomethodology 1 > Part 4 | Sushi 1-B
  • Week 3 > Ethnomethodology 1 > Part 5 | Sushi 2-A
  • Week 3 > Ethnomethodology 1 > Part 6 | Sushi 2-B

Week 3 > Ethnomethodology 1 > Part 1 | Ethnomethodology

  • We will discuss ethnomethodology and try to analyze actual service interactions.
  • What is ethnomethodology? Ethnomethodology was created and developed by late Professor Harold Garfinkel at UCLA.
  • Ethnomethodology is one area of sociology to investigate how social order is achieved.
  • To get a coffee, you cannot simply say, “I would like coffee.” You need to go through a lengthy process of choosing which coffee, hot or cold, which size, etc.
  • If you cannot do that, you could say, “I would like the coffee that is a little sour but not too much, and that has a strong but sharp after-taste.” There are many “Taken for granted” rules and procedures.
  • To achieve the social order and to get a coffee, we need to deal with all of them, whether we think about them or not.
  • How is such social order made possible? Put differently, how can we understand each other? What kind of methods do we use for that? A key concept in ethnomethodology is “Accountability.” We can understand each other and achieve social order by performing actions that others can understand and align with.
  • How can we perform actions that others can understand? By following rules, so that we can have others understand what we are doing.
  • The problem is that even if we follow a rule, we cannot really achieve social order.
  • When we think we are following a rule, how can they know that you are following that particular rule instead of other rules? How can you know that they know that you know the rule? Each time we take an action, we need to make our action understandable as the action of following a rule.
  • We need to present that we understand the rule when following the rule.
  • We need to present that we understand that they understand that we understand the rule.
  • Without this understanding, without this accountability, we cannot achieve social order.
  • What if you are talking with another person, how can you stop this talk and then say, “Hi” to the friend? If there are many people walking toward you, how can you say, “Hi” only to your friend? What if your friend is talking on his cell phone? So, you need to say “Hi” at the right timing in the right spatial arrangement.
  • In contrast, ethnomethodology tries to understand what people present to others.
  • Ethnomethodology is a study to explicate the ethno-methods.
  • To analyze one action, we need to understand why this particular action is placed after another action.

Week 3 > Ethnomethodology 1 > Part 2 | Background on Sushi

  • Before looking at data, I would like to walk you through sushi.
  • Even if you haven’t, you probably know what sushi is.
  • Although there are many different kinds of sushi, we focus on edomae sushi.
  • Edomae sushi used to be sushi made of fish taken in Tokyo bay.
  • Edomae sushi still maintains a unique character.
  • The kind of sushi we focus on is Nigiri as shown in this picture.
  • In edomae sushi, chefs prepare the fish in a variety of techniques so that the fish can match the rice.
  • Sushi bars are called bars because you sit in front of the chef across the bar counter.
  • The traditional way to order sushi is called Okonomi.
  • A literal translation is “As I like it.” Here is a quote from Trevor Corson’s book “The Story of Sushi.” In Okonomi, a customer asks the chef for different kinds of fish, one by one, as he eats.
  • There is much debate as to how to order sushi.
  • That means, when you order sushi, you feel nervous how much it will amount to.
  • Corson wrote, “Regardless of how the customer orders, some sushi experts suggest that it is the customer’s responsibility to know the price range of a particular sushi bar before walking in the door… the customer must be willing to trust the chefs calculation of the cost of the meal.” There is also sushi etiquette.
  • First, it says, pick up sushi using chopsticks or fingers.
  • It is often said that eating with fingers is the right way to eat sushi.
  • In high-end sushi bars, chefs typically put sauce, so you don’t need to do this.
  • Do not bite the sushi in half and put the remainder back on the plate.
  • We studied three high-end sushi bars, not including Jiro’s.
  • These are all well known sushi bars that have been featured in magazines and books for many times.
  • We observed 11 customers at sushi bar A, 6 customers at B, and 7 customers at C. Although this is a stock image of some sushi bar, not the ones we studied, this is a typical sushi bar.

Week 3 > Ethnomethodology 1 > Part 3 | Sushi 1-A

  • I recommend to print this out and have it handy when reviewing the data.
  • It is important for you to attempt your own analysis.
  • Review the clip repeatedly and take note of your observations.
  • The video clip is available independently for you to review.
  • Please review the data with the transcript handy and take note of whatever you notice.

Week 3 > Ethnomethodology 1 > Part 4 | Sushi 1-B

  • The chef says, “U:::m.” This colon refers to prolongation of the sound.
  • He says, “To begin.” After 0.5 seconds, the chef asks, “What would you like to drink.” The square bracket on “What” indicates that it was said at the same time as “Yes” in the second line.
  • Let’s examine how the customer responds to this question.
  • He then uses what is called a filler, “Mm::::” Then, he says, “Because it is humid: I will have ddraft beer:” The outward arrow heads around humid indicate that it was said relatively slowly.
  • He stammers a little when he says “Draft” and then says” beer.
  • ” The colon at the end of “Beer” indicates that he prolonged the last vowel.
  • At McDonald’s, you don’t say, “Because it is humid, I have a large coke.” Do you? On top of that, he does not spell out “Draft beer” clearly.
  • He prolongs the vowel at the end of “Beer.” What is this prolonged sound doing? He is doing this while he looks up at the chef.
  • He is oriented to how the chef would respond while producing this utterance of “Beer.” Compared to simply spelling out “Beer please,” we can see that he is uncertain about his choice.
  • He needs some feedback from the chef to finish his own utterance.
  • We can confirm this analysis by the way the chef responds to it.
  • The chef says, “Let’s go with draft beer.” The inward arrowheads indicate that he said this in a hurried manner.
  • It would be strange if they said, “Let’s go with a Big Mac.” This “Let’s” means that the subject of this is “We.” So, the chef is involving himself.
  • In line 05, the customer asks, “Is draft beer okay?” At this moment, we can sense that he was unsure whether the draft beer was an okay choice.
  • He may not know whether draft beer is available or whether draft beer would be a right choice in this context.
  • Let’s return to the chef’s first question, “What would you like to drink.” This was in fact a quite difficult question.
  • He is heard to be suggesting that his customers should be experienced enough to be able to answer this question without any further clue.

Week 3 > Ethnomethodology 1 > Part 5 | Sushi 2-A

  • Next, we will analyze another clip that is quite different.
  • This is an example from sushi bar B while the previous one was from sushi bar A. Again, please have your transcript ready and review the clip repeatedly.

Week 3 > Ethnomethodology 1 > Part 6 | Sushi 2-B

  • The customer says, “Beer please” What did you notice about this? First of all, there is not rationale or prolonged sound.
  • This means that the customer started speaking before the assistant finished her question.
  • They discuss which size of beer bottles the customer wanted.
  • From this interaction, we can see what kind of customer he is.
  • Next, we can observe an interesting case of a regular customer.
  • In the first line, the chef begins with the name of the customer.
  • This shows that the chef knows the customer and that this customer is a regular.
  • “For drinks, what would you like to do” The customer’s answer is quite interesting.
  • “A small bottle please” Like the previous example, he overlaps with the question, indicating that he was prepared for this question.
  • In the previous example, the customer was asked for the size after he indicated beer.
  • This regular customer is sort of answering the possible next question, which did not need to be asked.
  • It is clear that this customer knows the service very well.
  • The customers reveal what kind of customers they are.
  • Either not so experienced customers who are unsure whether they are behaving properly, or experienced customers who have anticipated this question.

Return to Summaries List.

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