There have been relatively few well-informed, critical assessments of ethnomethodology and conversation analysis. This book examines some of the background to these approaches, notably the influence of Schutz and phenomenology. It also compares Garfinkel's approach with those of Goffman and Simmel, and assesses the influence of Cicourel and conversation analysis on research methodology. The core of the book is an in-depth assessment of the rationale for ethnomethodology and conversation analysis, and of their relationship to mainstream social science. While the importance of the issues that these epistemologically and ontologically radical approaches raise is underlined, a number of fundamental problems are identified with the rationale underpinning them. -- .