Wednesday, August 3, 2016

August 2016 Newsletter

The August 2016 edition of the EMCA ASA Newsletter is now available.

Accessibility and childcare at ASA 16

Dear All

At the links here you can find the accessibility guide to the ASA meeting location at the Washington State Convention and Trade Centre

And here you can find the downtown seattle accessibility map and transit guide

Below is a list of the children's activities in the area.

See you all soon

ASA EMCA Committee

Children's activities in Seattle

Bill City Bill State Bill Zip Web Site
5th Avenue Theatre 1326 Fifth Ave, Ste 735 Seattle WA 98101
ACME Bowling Billiards and Events 100 Andover Park W Tukwila WA 98188
Argosy Cruises and Tillicum Village Excursion 1101 Alaskan Way, Pier 55, Ste 201 Seattle WA 98101
Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture 17th Ave NE and NE 45th St Seattle WA 98195
Chihuly Garden and Glass 305 Harrison St Seattle WA 98109
Emerald Queen Hotel & Casinos 5700 Pacific Hwy E Fife WA 98424
EMP Museum 325 Fifth Ave N Seattle WA 98109
Frye Art Museum 704 Terry Ave Seattle WA 98104
Future of Flight Aviation Center & Boeing Tour 8415 Paine Field Blvd Mukilteo WA 98275
GameWorks 1511 Seventh Ave Seattle WA 98101
Kids Discovery Museum 301 Ravine Ln NE Bainbridge Island WA 98110
Lucky Strike Lanes 700 Bellevue Way NE, Ste 250 Bellevue WA 98004
Museum of Glass 1801 Dock St Tacoma WA 98402
Museum of History & Industry (MOHAI) 860 Terry Ave N Seattle WA 98109
Nordic Heritage Museum 3014 NW 67th St Seattle WA 98117
Northwest Trek Wildlife Park 11610 Trek Dr E Eatonville WA 98328
Pacific Science Center 200 Second Ave N Seattle WA 98109
Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium 5400 N Pearl St Ruston WA 98407
Savor Seattle Food Tours 1501 Western Ave, Ste 301 Seattle WA 98101
Seattle Aquarium 1483 Alaskan Way, Pier 59 Seattle WA 98101
Seattle Asian Art Museum 1400 E Prospect Seattle WA 98122
Seattle Center 305 Harrison St Seattle WA 98109
Seattle Center Monorail 370 Thomas St, Ste 200 Seattle WA 98109
Seattle Children's Museum 305 Harrison St Seattle WA 98109
Seattle Children's Theatre 201 Thomas St Seattle WA 98109
Seattle Glassblowing Studio & Gallery 2227 Fifth Ave Seattle WA 98121
Seattle Great Wheel 1301 Alaskan Way Seattle WA 98101
Seattle Mariners Baseball Club 1250 First Ave S Seattle WA 98134
Seattle Pinball Museum 508 Maynard Ave S Seattle WA 98104
Segway in Seattle 2705 California Ave SW Seattle WA 98116
SkyMania Trampolines 11801 NE 116th St, Ste B Kirkland WA 98034
Space Needle 223 Taylor Ave North  Seattle WA 98109
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Visitor Center 818 Stewart Street Seattle WA 98101
The Bloedel Reserve 7571 NE Dolphin Dr Bainbridge Island WA 98110
The Center for Wooden Boats 1010 Valley St Seattle WA 98109
The Living Computer Museum 2245 First Ave S Seattle WA 98134
The Museum of Flight 9404 E Marginal Way S Seattle WA 98108
Underground Tour, Bill Speidel's 614 First Avenue Seattle WA 98104
Wild Waves Theme Park 36201 Enchanted Pkwy S Federal Way WA 98003
Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience 719 S King St Seattle WA 98104
Woodland Park Zoo 5500 Phinney Ave N Seattle WA 98103

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Pre ASA symposium on theory

10th Junior Theorists Symposium 
August 19, 2016
Seattle University
Wyckoff Auditorium (Engineering 200)
In order to facilitate lunch orders and planning, the organizers request that folks please RSVP by sending an email to with the subject line “JTS RSVP.” JTS is a donation-based event, and we kindly suggest donations of $20 per faculty member and $10 per graduate student, which can be made at the event, or in advance of the event through PayPal to the email account.
If you have any questions or comments, please do not hesitate to write to the organisers, Anna Skarpelis ( or Clayton Childress ( 

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

ASA Distinguished paper award 16

Dear all

We wish to congratulate Catelijne Coopmans and Graham Button on the award of the ASA EMCA distinguished paper award for

Coopmans, Catelijne & Button, Graham (2014) “Eyeballing Expertise”, Social Studies of Science, 44(5): 758-785.

This paper offers an ethnomethodological study of the job of classifying eyes, in view of detecting ‘diabetic retinopathy’, at the Singapore Advanced Imaging Laboratory for Ocular Research. The study does not only develop a highly perceptive analysis of diagnostic work at this medical facility, but it does also offer an exemplary demonstration of ‘ethnomethodological respecification’ in and for the field of science and technology studies (STS). It does so by offering an empirical reappraisal of H. Collins’ recent ‘theory of expertise’. Instead of classifying different kinds of possible expertise urbi et orbi (as Collins, in collaboration with R. Evans, does), the paper homes in on how a distinctive set of procedural skills (or ‘technical expertise’) is actually drawn upon in situ. This empirical reappraisal of Collins’ theory – to our knowledge, the first of its kind – is of analytic import for the social study of ‘tacit knowledge’ in EM, STS and beyond. It notably demonstrates the heuristic interest of the shift from a broad theory of ‘ubiquitous expertises’ (sic) and their classification (‘what is expertise?’, ‘who can possess it?’, ‘how should it be classified?’, etc.) to a subtle description of enacted expertise as an ethnomethodological phenomenon, including classification as a constitutive part of a distinctively technical, yet plainly observable practice (‘expert eye grading, in action and interaction’). Thereby, the paper dissolves some of the ‘puzzles’ of Collins’ (and Evans’) ‘normative theory of expertise’, puzzles that appear as technical artifacts of their ‘philosophically oriented social science’ (Collins, Evans 2007:7). In marrying descriptive analysis and conceptual critique, Coopmans’ and Button's respecification offers an insightful articulation of different strands of ethnomethodological inquiry, which may thus also have paradigmatic implications for related fields, including not only STS but also systems and interface design, if not the social sciences at large.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Thomas Luckmann dies aged 88

Peter Stegmaier (Department of Science, Technology, and Policy Studies, University of Twente) & Dirk vom Lehn (School of Management and Business, King's College London)

Thomas Luckmann was born in 1927 in the Slovenian town of Jesenice, than soon after became a part of the Yugoslavian Kingdom. Growing up bilingually at the Slovenian-Austrian boarder he received a broad humanist education. After WWII, Luckmann moved to Vienna where he first finished school and then studied linguistics and philosophy. He later moved to Innsbruck to study psychology, egyptology, French philology, and history. Right after marrying in 1950, first his wife Benita Luckmann and then 1951 Thomas came to New York, destitute, where he first worked as chauffeur for a known lawyer and as builder on his property, and his wife as steno typist at the Wall Street, then continuing their studies in philosophy and sociology at the Graduate Faculty of the New School for Social Research. Here, some of Luckmann’s teachers were Alfred Schütz, Karl Löwith, Carl Mayer (through whom he later met Arnold Gehlen), and here as a student he met with Peter L. Berger. In 1951, the young couple had a first of later three daughters (Maja, Mara, Metka), attending lectures after five, in shifts, and learning during late evening (Schnettler 2006).

After completing his studies, Luckmann first taught at Hobart College, New York, before returning to the New School for Social Research as successor of his teacher Alfred Schütz, with Peter L. Berger as colleague, from 1962-3 as colleague and friend also of Helmuth Plessner’s. In 1965 he returned to Germany where he received a call to a chair at University of Frankfurt am Main. In 1970, Luckmann became Professor for Sociology at University of Constance where he stayed until his retirement in 1994.

The richness and influence of Luckmann’s œuvre can be ascribed to its grounding in a range of sociological, anthropological, and philosophical traditions with a deep cultural-historical understanding. Luckmann combines the phenomenological thinking of Edmund Husserl and Alfred Schütz, Karl Mannheim’s sociology of knowledge and the anthropologies of Arnold Gehlen and Helmuth Plessner as well as the American pragmatists George Herbert Mead, William James, and John Dewey, and the later developing sociological perspectives of symbolic interactionism and ethnomethodology.

Luckmann probably best-known book is “The Social Construction of Reality—A Treatise in the Sociology of Knowledge” (1966) that he wrote together with Peter L. Berger … although, as he once put it, Luckmann and Berger actually wrote it “four-headed”, “because we both discussed what we were doing with our wives, who were scholars in their own right” (Dreher 2014). The influence of this book is enormous, if not, in some areas, pervasive, yet hard to quantify. It has been translated in many languages. Ideas and phrases (“the social construction of …”) have been trivialised through more or less thoughtful use—often a sign for impact far beyond narrow academic circles. Importantly, many authors have build explicitly on it since it was first published half a century ago; nonetheless many authors developed their own successful theoretical or empirical approaches with less explicit reference to it, in continuation of or in demarcation from it.

The book can be read, although not directly meant as a fundamental critique of (structural) functionalist reason. It also treats psychoanalysis with a little bit of irony. At the core, it amalgamates the sociologies of Emil Durkheim with Max Weber in the famous lead question: “How is it possible that human activity (Handeln) should produce a world of things (choses)?” (Berger & Luckmann 1966: 18). The ‘Social Construction’ provides a broad, not really specific theory that can and has been used as a set of general heuristics for grasping the historicity of what counts as real and relevant in a world shared by fellow humans, full also of things and non-humans, mainly focussing on their meaningful interactions. The book is deeply anthropological by recognising the importance of the body and the organism, of social things and their histories. Although often used as theoretical reference, it develops its great strengths especially when empirically studying all kinds of specific interactions and communications (in case of Luckmann himself: communicative genres as institutionalised routines, moral communication in particular). Its charm and actuality emerges from permanently urging the researcher to account both for the given structures and the actually just occurring interactions that make the world to what it is in that moment for those involved and later for those taking notice of how it was so far seen as real and normal.

Of enormous importance for the development of various contemporary discussions in sociology is the book “The Structures of the Life-World” (1974) that Luckmann developed from the notes and documents bequeathed unfinished by Alfred Schütz after his premature death in 1959. The Structures of the Life-World” have become a classic sociological text that provides the basis for sociological phenomenology and recent developments in the sociology of knowledge. In the book, Luckmann (and Schütz) unfold a theory to inform social theory, a conception of how a person’s life-world is constituted by individually and intersubjectively inhabiting a world of unquestioned everyday character.

A particular interest of Luckmann’s research has always been the role of religion in modern societies. Whilst Max Weber had highlighted the secularisation of society, Luckmann showed already in the 1960s how religion features in modern societies by virtue of a transformation of symbols. In 1967, he published the book ‘The Invisible Religion’ with a very broad notion of religiosity that can literally encompass everything, thereby allowing for discovering new or different forms of religiosity, less or not at all associated with an officially registered religious community. He distinguished small (within the everyday), middle-range (only indirect), and great (far beyond everyday reality reaching) transcendences. His theory of signs, symbols, and rituals is a logical and fruitful further elaboration of his effort to trace transcendences into all corners of social life. His analyses have provided the basis for the emergence of discussions about “popular religion” and “intermediary institutions”.

His studies into genres in (oral) communication laid the foundation for the emergence of the sociology of language and communication. In this area, his best-known work explores the “Communicative Construction of Moral” (with Jörg Bergmann, 1999). The recent emergence of “communicative constructivism” (Knoblauch 2013) as a new strand of theory and research pays testimony to the sustained impact of Luckmann’s work to the present day. Throughout his career Luckmann published in multiple languages and taught in different parts of the world making him a truly transcultural social theorist (Schnettler 2006). His work therefore was received well not only in Europe but also elsewhere in the world. Moreover, the influence of his work ripples through the social sciences and reaches also into the information sciences (e.g. Martin et al. 2012: 1192; Luckmann 2005).

Luckmann has questioned taken-for-granted assumptions about the equation of what is social and is human. From cultural anthropology and history he follows that what counts as social can be very different and changing. He always emphasised, often with a dry sense of humour, that he would stand for a “realist” position, especially when reminding so-called “constructivists” or “constructionists” of how much the materiality of things matters and which manifold roles it can play in the various social formations und dominating definitions of a ‘social world’ (Luckmann 1980). Scientific knowledge is seen in relation to everyday common sense knowledge as special knowledge. Science, in his view, different than religion, has failed to offer meaning to last questions because it is falsifiable in principle, never able to claim ultimate truths and has therefore run into its ‘cosmological fiasco’ of never having found the Archimedean point from which both world and reality could be explained as well as this explanation could be explained itself (Luckmann 1999, 1973).

Thomas Luckmann remained active in German and international sociology and in conversation with many neighbouring disciplines until very recently. On Tuesday, 10 May, he has died after a long illness in his mountain home in Carinthia, Austria (not far from the Slovenian boarder).


Berger, P. L., & Luckmann, T. (1966). The social construction of reality. A treatise in the sociology of knowledge. Garden City, New York: Doubleday

Bergmann, J., & Luckmann, T. (Eds.). (1999). Kommunikative Konstruktion von Moral. Band 1: Struktur und Dynamik der Formen moralischer Kommunikation (Vol. 1) & Band 2: Von der Moral zu den Moralen (Vol. 2). Opladen: Westdeutscher Verlag.

Dreher, Jochen (2014): 50th Anniversary Social Construction Thomas Luckmann. Sozialwissenschaftliches Archiv, Konstanz, at:
 Knoblauch, H. (2013). Communicative constructivism and mediatization. Communication Theory, 23(3), 297–315. doi:10.1111/comt.12018
Luckmann, T. (2005). On the communicative construction of reality. Lecture to the LSE Department of Information Systems 2nd February 2005

Luckmann, T. (1999). Das kosmologische Fiasko der Soziologie. In R. Hitzler, J. Reichertz, & N. Schröer (Eds.), Hermeneutische Wissenssoziologie. Standpunkte zur Theorie der Interpretation (pp. 309-318). Konstanz: UVK

Luckmann, T. (1980). Über die Grenzen der Sozialwelt Lebenswelt und Gesellschaft (pp. 56-92). Paderborn et al.: Schöningh

Luckmann, T. (1973). Philosophy, Science and Everyday Life. In M. A. Natanson (Ed.), Phenomenology and the Social Sciences Vol. 1 (pp. 143-185). Evanston/Ill.: Northwestern UP

Luckmann, T. (1967). The invisible religion. New York: MacMillan

Martin, B., Nightingale, P., & Yegros-Yegros, A. (2012). Science and technology studies: Exploring the knowledge base. Research Policy, 41, 1182-1204. doi:doi:10.1016/j.respol.2012.03.010

Pawlowski, T., & Schmitz, H. W. (Eds.). (2003). 30 Jahre “Die gesellschaftliche Konstruktion der Wirklichkeit”. Gespräch mit Thomas Luckmann. Essen: Shaker
Schnettler, B. (2006). Thomas Luckmann. Konstanz: UVK