Peter Eglin

Plenary Address: Monday, July 10 – 11:00am

This and That: Garfinkel, Wittgenstein and the World in 2017

In “Suicide, for all practical purposes” Garfinkel asserts that the coroner and SPCers engaged in death inquiries must make their determinations “with respect to
the “‘this’s’: they have to start with this much; this sight; this note; this collection of whatever is at hand. And whatever is there is good enough in the sense that whatever is there not only will do, but does … What the inquiry can come to is what the death came to” (Garfinkel 1967: 18; emphasis in original). In the Tractatus Wittgenstein wrote, “Not how the world is, is the mystical, but that it is” (Wittgenstein 2007 [1922]: 6.44, p. 107; emphasis in original).  The paper explores the relationship of these two thoughts and their relevance to confronting the contemporary threat to human civilization posed by anthropogenic climate disruption brought on by unfettered corporate capitalism.


About Peter Eglin

Peter EglinPeter Eglin (2) taught sociology at Wilfrid Laurier University from 1976 until he retired in 2016. He was Humboldt Research Fellow at the Universität Konstanz 1980-1981, and Visiting Research Associate at the Centre for Socio-Legal Studies at Wolfson College, Oxford in 1981, and has taught at the University of Toronto, Newcastle-upon-Tyne Polytechnic and the University of Wales at Bangor. He is author of Talk and Taxonomy: A Methodological Comparison of Ethnosemantics and Ethnomethodology (1980). With Stephen Hester he is co-author of A Sociology of Crime (1992) and The Montreal Massacre: A Story of Membership Categorization Analysis (2003), and co-editor of Culture in Action: Studies in Membership Categorization Analysis (1997).  As a student of ethnomethodology and conversation analysis he investigates the use of categories for describing persons in practical reasoning in talk and texts in various settings. He has contributed chapters to the Handbook of Sociology and Human Rights (2013) and the Routledge Handbook of Language and Culture (2014).