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Christian Ferencz-Flatz, “The Eidetics of the Unimaginable. What a Phenomenologist can Learn from Ethnomethodology”, Human Studies, Volume 46, 2023.

This paper discusses the phenomenological method’s reliance on imaginative procedures in view of ethnomethodological research. While ethnomethodology has often been seen in continuity with Alfred Schütz’ phenomenological sociology, it mainly parts ways with phenomenology by stressing that the decisive details structuring mutual understanding (gestures, bodily expressions, or the myriad trifles that regulate casual conversation) are „not imaginable, but can only be found out”. This paper reflects from a phenomenological perspective on what such a claim entails by first delineating this line of criticism from other objections raised against the use of imaginative procedures in phenomenology and by showing how this line of questioning departs from the core philosophical debates concerning imaginabilitiy and unimaginability in the Kantian tradition. Further on, the paper offers an in-depth interpretation of the aforementioned ethnomethodological claim in order not only to outline its methodological implications for phenomenology, but also to show that it involves possible key insights for understanding interaction, which phenomenology needs to take into account despite its eidetic scope.