(Ethno)methodology in an Auto-Repair Shop: Categorization Practices of "Ethnic Membership"

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Timur Bocharov


Ethnomethodology, Harvey Sacks, Categorization, Ethnicity, Indexicality


This article is an ethnomethodological examination of ethnic categorization practices in a community of migrants. The research is based on participant observation in an auto repair shop employing only Uzbek workers. I reevaluate Harvey Sacks’s ideas about membership categories by taking into account the classical ethnomethodology of Harold Garfinkel. The paper focuses specific attention on the everyday practices that give reality to the social fact of “ethnicity.” I describe how workers and clients, in face-to-face interactions, make ordinary actions (cooking, backgammon playing, tobacco smoking, police inspection of documents) accountable as “ethnic”phenomena. The research practices themselves are explicated as part of the described phenomenon, following the ethnomethodological principle of topic/resource shift. In Russian, extended summary in English.

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