Michael Emmison Farewell Lecture University of Queensland Mar 2012

The School of Social Science at the University of Queensland is holding an event in honour of Mike Emmison, who is retiring from UQ.

Tuesday 13 March 2012
5.00pm for a 5.30pm start
(Refreshments included at 6.30pm)
Auditorium (Level 2)
Sir Llew Edwards Building (14)
The University of Queensland
St Lucia campus

Kerryn Biles
k.biles@uq.edu.au or 3365 3173 by Tuesday 6 March 2012

Mike will be giving a Farewell Lecture entitled ‘Sociology, discovery and progress: lessons from the study of naturally occurring talk-in-interaction’.

Sociology has a long tradition of critical self-examination in which its perceived defects and deficiencies are laid bare. In this lecture I revisit two recent assessments of the state of sociology, those by Stephen Cole and Randall Collins. By using their diagnoses of the problems within sociology as a foil it is possible to conceive of an alternative vision for the discipline.

In essence in order to emulate the successes of the natural sciences sociology must eschew personal or non-cognitive interests in the formulation of its research agendas and assign priority to the accurate observation of fundamental and enduring phenomena.
Combining these insights I argue that sociology must wean itself from its long term dependency on the survey and the in-depth interview and embrace the use of audio and video research technology to study social life as it happens.
I illustrate the potential that the use of naturally occurring data has for the discovery of phenomena through examples from the sociology of work. Only through the rigorous examination of ‘specimens of interaction’ acquired through these technologies will sociology be in a position to advance core knowledge of human practice which is cumulative and interlocking.

Our fate, alternatively, is to remain in the empirically productive, but ultimately incoherent and disconnected, research frontier.

For further information, please see www.uq.edu.au/sbs/farewell-lecture

Please join us in celebrating Mike and his work (so far)