An Exercise in “Primitive Natural Science” of Naturally Occurring Types of ‘Ownership’

Human Studies:1-25 (forthcoming)
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This paper investigates how are things on the street methodically displayed to exchibit an aspect of extra-legal ‘ownership'. Harvey Sacks proposed two categories of ownerships, those that one wants and can have and those that one wants but cannot have. Building on this Sacks’ categorizations and on his method of simple observation and on photographic documentation this paper develops an additional typology of informal ownership displayed on the street. Typology is based on the layperson’s unmediated inference of the in situ and in vivo account of the exhibited properties of a thing’s methodic display. Taking from Harold Garfinkel that social order resides in the ordinary practice the author’s layperson’s description of an observed thing accounts for the method of its display as the recognized generality of the ownership type. Such analysis escapes the sociological method of complex analysis of large collections of quantitative data as the only and privileged account of social order. In this regard, Sacks envisioned social analysis as natural science based on simple observations, reporting, and replications that could be done by anybody.



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