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THEORETICAL VALIDITY AND EMPIRICAL UTILITY OF A CONSTRUCTIONIST ANALYTICS

Authors


Jaber F. Gubrium, Department of Sociology, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO 65211; e-mail: gubrium@missouri.edu

Abstract

Wing-Chung Ho offers an extensive critique of what he calls our “radical constructionist approach to family experience,” questioning the theoretical validity and empirical utility of the research program. This article responds to the charges in the broader context of the program's constructionist analytics, discussing family's experiential location, organizational embeddedness, and the importance of ethnographic sensibility. A brief extract of situated talk and interaction is presented to illustrate the discursive complexity and institutional bearings of family as a category of experience. The conclusion takes up the issue of whether the program is radical in conceptualization and empirical realization.

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