Tiny Publics and Social Worlds—Toward a Sociology of the Local. Gary Alan Fine in Conversation With Reiner Keller

Keywords: collective memories, culture, ethnography, group, interaction, narrative, rumor, social theory, social worlds, structure


Gary Alan FINE is among the most prominent figures in contemporary sociological ethnography worldwide. In this conversation, he talks about influences in his academic career and key intellectual choices. Considered to be a "serial ethnographer" who has worked in multiple settings, his work focuses on small groups and peopled ethnography, as well as on rumors, gossip, and moral story telling in tiny and larger publics. FINE describes his core theoretical interest as residing in the interplay of structure, interaction, and culture and discusses the multiple local ways society is realized by people in formal and informal social settings: ranging from baseball teams, restaurant kitchens, weather reporting to chess players—to name but a few research sites. Influenced by symbolic interactionist thinking and other important approaches to social worlds, he argues for a confident voice of ethnographic research and writing as well as the importance of conceptual work in a theory-informed empirical sociology of what people do together.


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Author Biographies

Gary Alan Fine, Northwestern University

Gary Alan FINE is James E. Johnson Professor of Sociology at the Department of Sociology of Northwestern University in Evanston, Il. (USA). His research covers four distinct streams in cultural sociology: difficult reputations and problematic collective memories, group-related ethnography, the interpretation of rumor and contemporary legend, and microsociological theory, focusing on small group culture.

Reiner Keller, Universität Augsburg

Reiner KELLER is professor of sociology at the University of Augsburg. His areas of work include the sociology of knowledge and culture, discourse research, the sociology of human-nature relations, sociological theory, interpretive methods, French sociology.

How to Cite
Fine, G. A., & Keller, R. (2020). Tiny Publics and Social Worlds—Toward a Sociology of the Local. Gary Alan Fine in Conversation With Reiner Keller. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung / Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 22(1). https://doi.org/10.17169/fqs-22.1.3629
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