Sociology Index


Norms are forever problematic. Scientific statements are product of an intersubjective dialog with validity claims about problematic situations of the Social World. Problematic is a term used by ethnomethodology and put to effective use by Dorothy Smith to describe as a problem of interest that which is normally not seen as a problem because it is taken for granted. Smith argues that, “the everyday world is problematic”. By bracketing one's own membership in the world a researcher makes the commonsense and taken-for-granted world problematic. By making the everyday and ordinary problematic a researcher is able to uncover the structure and dynamic of the everyday.

Institutional ethnographic research is a method of inquiry pioneered by Dorothy E. Smith. Institutional ethnography is a research strategy which emerges from Smith's wide-ranging explorations of the problematic of the everyday world. The Everyday World As Problematic: A Feminist Sociology.

Ethnography, Institutions, and the Problematic of the Everyday World 
Peter R. Grahame - Journal Human Studies ISSN 0163-8548 (Print) 1572-851X (Online) 
Abstract This essay describes institutional ethnography as a method of inquiry pioneered by Dorothy E. Smith, and introduces a collection of papers which make distinctive contributions to the development of this novel form of investigation. Institutional ethnography is presented as a research strategy which emerges from Smith's wide-ranging explorations of the problematic of the everyday world. Smith's conception of the everyday world as problematic involves a critical departure from the concepts and procedures of more conventional sociologies. She argues for an alternative sociology which begins with the standpoint of the actor in everyday life, rather than from within a professional sociological discourse aligned with the society's ruling institutions.

The Everyday Classroom As Problematic: A Feminist Pedagogy 
Author: Gallagher, Kathleen
Source: Curriculum Inquiry, Volume 30, Number 1, Spring 2000, pp. 71-81(11)
Abstract: The title of this article is borrowed and adapted from Dorothy Smith's authoritative text, “The Everyday World as Problematic: A Feminist Sociology.” Likewise, the “everyday classroom” has traditionally operated within patriarchal structures and used practices which have not taken up girls' experiences as distinct and unique. Therefore, problematizing the pedagogical lens, as Smith has problematized the social sciences we have used to study human relations, leads to, in Smith's case, new feminist research strategies in the field, and in the case of pedagogy, new classroom practices and a view of curriculum which addresses girls' experiences in necessary ways.