Exploring the Potential of Membership Categorization Analysis for Researching Uncertainty

Tuesday, 17 July 2018: 08:30
Oral Presentation
Susann LUDWIG, University of Basel, Switzerland
In Mali, more than 70 percent of young academics are searching for employment. They encounter severe difficulties finding a job that corresponds to their qualification or entering the labor market in general. University graduates find themselves in situations characterized by uncertainty, which impacts both their actions in the present and their imagination and planning of their futures.

Against this background, the question is: How university graduates deal with their present situation and how they relate to the future? One answer lies in what graduates refer to as “la chance”, which is part of their common sense knowledge and accomplished by graduates making sense of everyday uncertainties.

In order to describe the phenomenon of la chance, accounts from more than ninety biographical, narrative interviews with university graduates were analyzed according to Membership Categorisation Analysis (MCA) was conducted. Originating in Ethnomethodology, MCA examines “common-sense knowledge in terms of the categories members employ in accomplishing their activities in and through talk« (Francis and Hester 2004, 21). This presentation explores and discusses the potential of ethnomethodology’s ideas in general and MCA in specific, when researching everyday uncertainties.