On Egon Bittner

George Psathas
2013 unpublished
Egon and I came to Boston about the same time, 1968, he at Brandeis, I at Boston University. He introduced me to Cabot's, a place to eat and to savour ice cream as well, where we had our first lunch together. He was the kind of colleague we'd all love to have -helpful, cooperative, friendly and scholarly. It was wonderful to have another ethnomethodologist in the Boston area. Working together with other colleagues we thought we might make a dent in the intellectual freeze-out that confronted
more » ... that confronted us. We could be naïve as well. We met in my living room, together with Kurt Wolff (Brandeis), David Rasmussen (Boston College), Victor Kestenbaum and Jeff Coulter (Boston University) to plan the establishment of a new journal, Human Studies, which we would launch if we could find a publisher -and enough good manuscripts. The group eventually formed part of the editorial board of Human Studies and recruited as well as reviewed new manuscripts. We had said we would launch a journal only if we had enough manuscripts for at least two issues. We not only launched this publication (in 1978) but continued to work together for many years as the journal is now in its 32nd volume year. He had already contributed a paper, 'Objectivity and Realism in Sociology' to a volume I edited, Phenomenological Sociology (Psathas 1973), as well as participating in evening meetings with a group we had gathered in the Boston area, the phenomenology and social science seminar. Egon had worked with Garfinkel at the time of the development of ethnomethodology. He is cited as a 'collaborator' by Garfinkel in Studies in Ethnomethodology in a footnote to Chapter 6, 'Good Organizational Reasons for Bad Clinic Records', and again in Chapter 7 where he is cited for a chapter written 'with the assistance of Egon Bittner'. These cited contributions are most likely only a part of his work with Garfinkel. He is mentioned as one of the members of the famous west coast seminar that is acknowledged as the starting point of ethnomethodology.
doi:10.5449/idslu-001091488 fatcat:dod67qqzsfaq5nzf3wedcphouu