How does Garfinkel’s experimental approach help you test what differences matter?

Cultural Dilemmas

For today’s class you needed to read “Speech Act Lumber and Paint,” “Coherence,” “Variations on a Frame,” and “Sailors and Immigrants” in the Agar textbook. Please answer any ONE question from EACH of the four chapters (four answers in all) as grouped below.

“Speech Act Lumber and Paint”

1. How does Garfinkel’s experimental approach help you test what differences matter?  What might be some problems with this method?

2. What is structure?

3. What is the relation of structure to content?

4. How do structure and content relate to action?

5. What is the purpose of detailed analysis like Hyme’s SPEAKING, the “grammars” of Chapter Five, and the transcripts discussed in this chapter?


1.  How can cultural coherence lead to communication difficulties within a society?

2.  How can intercultural communication transform this?

3.  What do the examples in this chapter suggest about how cultural systems change?

“Variations on a Frame”

1. How is culture tied to identities?

2. How do we express identities through culture?

3. What does Agar mean by saying some identities are denser than others?

4. What three things does Agar say people can do with social identities?

“Sailors and Immigrants”

1. What does MAR stand for?

2. What concepts from the rest of the book are useful in adopting Agar’s MAR approach to intercultural relations?

3. Why engage in this kind of intercultural communication?  (I count three answers offered by Agar. Maybe you can find more…)

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