The Concept of Action Paperback
Part of the New Departures in Anthropology series
When people do things with words, how do we know what they are doing?
Many scholars have assumed a category of things called actions: 'requests', 'proposals', 'complaints', 'excuses'.
The idea is both convenient and intuitive, but as this book argues, it is a spurious concept of action.
In interaction, a person's primary task is to decide how to respond, not to label what someone just did.
The labeling of actions is a meta-level process, appropriate only when we wish to draw attention to others' behaviors in order to quiz, sanction, praise, blame, or otherwise hold them to account.
This book develops a new account of action grounded in certain fundamental ideas about the nature of human sociality: that social conduct is naturally interpreted as purposeful; that human behavior is shaped under a tyranny of social accountability; and that language is our central resource for social action and reaction.
- Format: Paperback
- Pages: 242 pages, 14 b/w illus. 1 table
- Publisher: Cambridge University Press
- Publication Date: 12/10/2017
- Category: Anthropology
- ISBN: 9780521719650