Ethnomethodology is a sociological perspective that focuses and analyses the way that we do things in our everyday lives. Our daily interactions are based on how we converse and interact with each other in our societies. People employ practical reasoning and way of carrying out activities that define their daily life to describe the society they live in. Ethnomethodology helps understand the interaction of people in ordinary society and how they use their knowledge and understanding to define their understanding and control various situations that may arise in their society (Rouncefield & Tolmie, 167).
Ethnomethodology is quite important in helping one understand how people make sense of their local worlds. By understanding how normal people understand and expect from their society, one is better placed to ensure that once in that society they have to cry themselves in a socially acceptable way to have the best relationship once in it. According to Rawls (128), Ethnomethodology is also important in the sense that it helps people appreciate the efforts of others to ensure that there is order, consistency and meaning in their lives and society in general. Furthermore, Ethnomethodology is essential to understanding the norms of society and the way the society feels about any changes that may be introduced contrary to what they are used to.
The breaching experiment
Most people are not used to greeting others by handshakes in public in our society. Most people shake hands with those they are only familiar or close to, sometimes only waving to familiar faces. The experiment will aim at registering the feeling that a stranger gives once they are given a handshake. The outcome of the experiment was recorded per individual respondent as their responses and reactions were noted.
Though greetings was a norm a while back, the society has changed in that it is very rare to be greeted by a person specially those who are not known to us. It has become common for almost everyone is busy with themselves either on their smartphones or afraid of having a handshake with a stranger they are sitting next to who seems to be busy with the social media chats. Offering greetings had once been a standard norm a while back; the norm has changed, and most have neglected the same as if it never existed and replaced it with only greeting others by just saying hello or waving. Our society quickly adopted the new nature of greeting that seems to be more efficient and quick thus saving time. Most people seem to be in a rush to fulfill their activities of the day hence waving, and a simple hello seems to be quite acceptable.
During the experiment, I targeted to have a handshake with people who were total strangers to me as well as those familiar who we always say hi or just wave at each other. I greeted those I met in public including the bus station when going for shopping and my general interactions.
The reaction of people
People reacted differently when I greeted them. Most people especially after having a handshake with a group of strangers, had amusement written all over their faces. Most of the groups of people seemed to be discussing my action of having a handshake with them. Amusement was also written all over the faces of onlookers who seemed to be curious about what I was up to.
The public displeasure of having a handshake with some was evident; I was rebuked by one lady who refused to stretch out their arms to shake hands with me. In another scenario, the gentleman I had shaken hand with cleaned it with a sanitizer from his jacket immediately after having the handshake. In another occasion, the guy I sat next to in a public transport vehicle loudly asked me what I was up to after getting a handshake from each person that was on board. He seemed amazed by the action.
Though, others were thrilled by having to greet them with a handshake, though most of them were old folks. After having a handshake, some wanted to extend with a chat, showing some pride in the old norms that brought people together. Some even went further to insist on how the custom of the old was the best and needs to be back foster togetherness among people.
Why people reacted
Most people reacted differently because getting a handshake from a total stranger is quite against the current norms in our society. The society members are used to having a handshake and a hug from the people they are close to. A handshake from a stranger is quite puzzling to many people as they take the person giving the handshake as quite out of mind. The practice is contrary to what they are accustomed to.
The older generation seemed o appreciate the old norm that they appreciated to be instrumental in bringing people especially strangers together. They appreciated the role of the old habit as the key to knowing other people's issues hence helping people to have a society that appreciates togetherness f its people.
Rawls, A. W. (2008). Harold Garfunkel, Ethnomethodology and workplace studies. Organization Studies, 29(5), 100-167.
Rouncefield, M., & Tolmie, P. (2011). Ethnomethodology at work. Furnham: Ashgate Publishing Ltd.
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