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Whatever should be done with indexical expressions?

Whatever should be done with indexical expressions? WHATEVER SHOULD BE DONE WITH INDEXICAL EXPRESSIONS?* BARRY BARNESANDJOHNLAW Isn't it like this: so long as one thinks it can't be otherwise, one draws logical conclusions. 1 Insofar as there is value in ethnomethodological research and hope for its eventual fruitfulness, this resides in its stress upon and attention to two allegedly highly general features of verbal exchanges: these are the essential reflexivity of discourse, and the indexicality of the expressions employed therein. This paper offers arguments suggesting the universality of indexicali- ty, a claim not yet fully granted even among ethnomethodologists themselves. Insofar as we are able to render this claim more secure we shall be contri- buting to ethnomethodology itself, since its scope is essentially determined by the distribution of indexical expressions and indexicality is intimately bound up with the equally important concept of reflexivity. We shall not here, however, discuss in detail the wider implications of our argument. A number of difficulties stand in the way of our establishing our thesis finally and conclusively. (Indeed, our own argument when fully developed, implies its own lack of finality!) But perhaps the most important difficulty from a practical viewpoint is the current lack of agreement on what "indexicality" http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Theory and Society Springer Journals

Whatever should be done with indexical expressions?

Theory and Society , Volume 3 (2) – Jun 26, 2004

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References (6)

Publisher
Springer Journals
Copyright
Copyright
Subject
Social Sciences; Sociology, general; Philosophy of the Social Sciences
ISSN
0304-2421
eISSN
1573-7853
DOI
10.1007/BF00161678
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

WHATEVER SHOULD BE DONE WITH INDEXICAL EXPRESSIONS?* BARRY BARNESANDJOHNLAW Isn't it like this: so long as one thinks it can't be otherwise, one draws logical conclusions. 1 Insofar as there is value in ethnomethodological research and hope for its eventual fruitfulness, this resides in its stress upon and attention to two allegedly highly general features of verbal exchanges: these are the essential reflexivity of discourse, and the indexicality of the expressions employed therein. This paper offers arguments suggesting the universality of indexicali- ty, a claim not yet fully granted even among ethnomethodologists themselves. Insofar as we are able to render this claim more secure we shall be contri- buting to ethnomethodology itself, since its scope is essentially determined by the distribution of indexical expressions and indexicality is intimately bound up with the equally important concept of reflexivity. We shall not here, however, discuss in detail the wider implications of our argument. A number of difficulties stand in the way of our establishing our thesis finally and conclusively. (Indeed, our own argument when fully developed, implies its own lack of finality!) But perhaps the most important difficulty from a practical viewpoint is the current lack of agreement on what "indexicality"

Journal

Theory and SocietySpringer Journals

Published: Jun 26, 2004

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