This paper is an attempt to explore the possible research stances available to the researcher involved in participant observation of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) . It examines some ethnographic studies of AA, within both naturalistic and symbolic interaction is m research paradigms. However , mindful of the constitutive nature of language in social interaction and also wishing to focus on AA as a discoursal process, ethnomethodological approaches are examined, particularly the insights available through Conversational Analysis (CA) and Institutional Interaction. The methods of scrutiny available through these approaches - the emphasis on data and fine-grained detail as well as the context sensitivity available to the acculturated observer - it is argued, make the ethnomethodological approach eminently appropriate in terms of exploring the reflexive relationship between AA discourse and its social organization.


Participant Observation, Alcoholics Anonymous, Ethnography, Ethnomethodology, Conversation Analysis, Institutional Interaction, Insider / Outsider

Publication Date


Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 4.0 International License.




Submission Location


To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.