chapter  7
Milgram versus Garfinkel: are we cultural dopes or reflexive agents? A reflexive critique of ethnomethodology
Pages 28

The ontological picture of the individual as an active, reflexive, interpretive agent is fundamental to the critical social theory of Giddens, Habermas and Bhaskar. In previous chapters I examined and ‘deconstructed’ this picture with respect to the theories of tacit knowledge, rule-following and ‘un-determined’ individual agency. In this chapter I go back to what is, for critical social theorists, the primary source of this picture: Harold Garfinkel’s creation and inauguration of ethnomethodology. Garfinkel’s picture of the individual derives from a range of ‘experimental’ investigations into various routine practices of everyday life (reported in his Studies in Ethnomethodology), and it is upon these that my critical attention is focused in this chapter.