Andrew Carlin's "Rose's Gloss"

Qualitative Sociology Review Volume II , Issue 3 – December 2006
Andrew Carlin
St Columb’s College, Derry City, Northern Ireland

“Rose’s Gloss”: Considerations of Natural Sociology and Ethnography in Practice

This paper explores the nature and use of “Rose’s Gloss” for ethnographic research. Rose’s Gloss is a technique – credited to Edward Rose, late of the University of Colorado at Boulder – for eliciting information from members of society without imposing methodologically ironic categories onto members’ responses. This facilitates what Rose called “natural” (people’s own) rather than “professional” (stipulative) sociology, which is the distinctive feature of the “Ethno-Inquiries” approach to social research that he pioneered. A pilgrimage to Jerusalem provided unexpected opportunities to document the worded nature of social life. The pilgrimage demonstrates how Rose’s Gloss can be used as an ethnographic practice to pass as a competent participant in study sites.

Description; Edward Rose; Ethno-Inquiries; Ethnomethodology; Fieldnotes; Holy Land; Jerusalem; Observation; Pilgrimage; Passing


In this paper I do not wish to present an ethnographic problem, namely an outline of a theoretical basis for ethnography, would that be desirable, feasible or at all possible (Sharrock and Anderson, 1982). Rather than subordinating the task of ethnography to the art of writing, I shall be taking “ethnography” at its etymological meaning—the description of people (ethnos people and graphia description). I shall outline analyses derived from “being there” and “walking by”; in other words, being within a locality, or witnessing a scene, which is a perspicuous setting or event for ethnographic description, providing “ethnographic slices” (Richman, 1999) from an organized pilgrimage to Jerusalem.

Vignettes form the basis of ethnographic description, from my happening to be there or be walking by. Further, these sites and sights highlighted culturally located identities: settings were “identity rich” in that those relevant categories were occasioned by location and activities.i These vignettes are connected through the work of Edward L. Rose: at the time of this pilgrimage, I was beginning my research on Rose’s work. I shall also discuss interrelated themes within Rose’s work, the relevance of Rose’s work for doing ethnography, and the importance of “glossing practices”.

©2005-2006 Qualitative Sociology Review Volume II Issue 3

Edward Rose’s Forms of Natural Sociology

Whilst this paper constitutes a long-overdue consideration of “Rose’s Gloss”, it would be a misapprehension to regard Rose’s analytic positions as limited to this feature. As suggested elsewhere (Carlin, 1999: 61), Rose’s contributions to sociology and the human sciences are not reducible to “Rose’s Gloss”. Rose is associated with a variety of distinctive forms of inquiry. For example, the diachronic, etymological analysis of ordinary terms and the discipline’s specialist vocabularyii; demonstrations of natural-language productions, known as the ‘Small Languages’ inquiriesiii; linguistic ethnography, or ethnography “from within”iv; forms of narrative analyses maintaining the primacy of people’s first-person accounts at the expense of analysts’ methodologically ironic glossesv, rather than the other way around (the traditional approach of “professional”, “qualitative” sociology).

These approaches constitute a radical epistemological position: that natural or ordinary language terms precede professional sociological terms; that professional sociological terms are derived from, adjunctive to and indeed parasitic upon ordinary language terms; that the world is a worded entity, which has been linguistically constituted by people themselves without the overlay of professional sociological terms; that any social analysis must coincide with how people orient to their social world, for to do otherwise would produce methodological irony. This epistemological position may be glossed as the attempt to produce “natural sociology”.

This emphasizes, then, that “natural” sociology is not to be misconstrued as “naturalistic” sociology. For Rose, natural sociology is precisely embedded within and exhibited by members’ own categories. It is located in accounts produced by people in the world, upon which professional sociology, including naturalistic sociology, necessarily relies.
Via discussion of Rose’s epistemological position, what follows is a way of approaching ethnographic practices, from a setting where members’ activities were publicly available, in which observations could be made and presented qua ethnography. Indeed, what “ethnography” consists of – members’ practical activities of seeing, talking, recognizing, and methods of sense-assembly. Prior to ex post facto considerations, for example “thick description” (Geertz, 1975), or the ironies of “writing culture” (Clifford and Marcus, 1986), is the intersubjective nature of the world as we see it as members of society, or “people in the world”. I then proceed to explicate Rose’s Gloss and its implications for doing ethnography.

Bases of Ethnographic Work: Pilgrims in Jerusalem

A way to consider ethnography is illustrated by an organized pilgrimage to the Holy Land. A feature of the observations was the analysis “in flight”; that is, I was engaged in bringing analytic resources to scenes being witnessed at the time. Further, I had been assembling work by Edward Rose, who had visited Manchester in October As a consequence, I attempted to select such resources that were cognate with Rose’s programme for ethnography, the Ethno-Inquiries.vii

Rose emphasizes the importance of members’ understandings, how they are realized via their culturally-shared, ordinary language practices, and how they prefigure the competing or methodologically ironic glosses of members’ knowledge in sociologists’ reports.viii On his last visit to Manchester, Rose (1994a) recalls that earlier that summer he had been sitting at the gates of a children’s learning centre in

©2005-2006 Qualitative Sociology Review Volume II Issue 3

Boulder, next to the university. He was waiting for the students to show up for a class he was giving on Field Methods, when “the world walked by”.ix
In Jerusalem I realized what Rose (Rose, oral statement, in Lennard, Psathas and Rose, 1963) had meant regarding the “mythologizing of fieldwork”:

[S]tart with the proposition that a social scientist is an ordinary person, perhaps confronted by special tasks that he may wish to handle in ways that are not ordinary – possibly with special analytical devices... [I]n the course of facing his professional tasks, he relies and constantly relies on much of the equipment that he has as an ordinary person. (p. 35)

Rose first saw this in 1933 when he accompanied his teacher, the anthropologist Paul Radin, conducting “fieldwork” on a Reservation. Rose had watched Radin leaning against a fence, whilst having “an ordinary conversation” in “ordinary language” with one of his “informants”. Thus there was an important realization for Rose: that whatever the written account says, from whatever perspectival approach in which it falls, fieldwork is carried out through language (Watson, 1997).

My status and role were ambivalent – my “credentials” as a pilgrim per sex and qua participating/non-participating observer (Gold, 1958). After all, I was on a pilgrimage and had not elected a site in which to “do ethnography”.xi Nevertheless, I engaged in activities that a pilgrim-on-pilgrimage would do, as well as some ordinary activities that an ethnographer-observing-pilgrims-on-pilgrimage would do.

For Rose, social scientists are “prone to take for granted a great deal of what has already been decided by ordinary people in the description of the social scene” (Lennard, Psathas and Rose, 1963: 36). They encounter a previously “well-described scene”. I encountered this well-described scene as any other member would encounter it: a well-described scene in a well-formulated world. Phenomena were amenable to Goffmanian conceptualization (“keying” and “framing” activities as “pilgrimage-type” rather than “touristic” activities) but, in Rose’s terms, I tried to avoid “the Goffmanizing of the world” (quoted in Watson, 1998: 207).
Rose tells us how to proceed with our inquiries, to look for things that are in the world and to listen to the words brought forth by people in the world: “For one thing, the world is largely right here. It’s close to us. And secondly, we have two ... means to get to it: the observation of the world, and the talk about it” (Rose, 1994c). I watched the world from within, and listened to words that were brought forth by people in the world.

Throughout his writings Rose has consistently advocated the re-emplacement of a “natural sociology”, which acknowledges that the corpus of sociological concepts are not its own; rather, we can find the provenances, meanings and uses of sociological concepts in lay, ordinary language. In his foundational paper “The English record of a natural sociology” (Rose, 1960: 193-194, emphasis supplied), Rose argues that:

[...] notions of society and of persons in society are sociological comprehensions manifest to people themselves involved in a society. Such understandings can be called natural if they freely occur without deliberate professional direction

From the English record we know that people have talked about pilgrims and going on pilgrimages.xii I shall mention how ordinary talk brought forth by people in the world has been concerned with going on pilgrimage.

©2005-2006 Qualitative Sociology Review Volume II Issue 3

It was meaningful – as Rose (1994b) says, it was a “meaningful matter” – for pilgrims talking in Jerusalem to distinguish between their being on a pilgrimage as opposed to being on a holiday. The pilgrimage/holiday distinction was generally supplied whenever anyone referred to it as a “holiday”: the celebrant said on the coach towards the airport, “Yes, we’re going on a holiday but it’s a special holiday, a pilgrimage, so there we have a lot of praying to do”. This “sensitized” me to a distinction made by people themselves. As such, when I heard a cognate remark in the hotel near St. Stephen’s Gate, I took a note of it on a napkin in the hotel dining room. The note reads “This hotel is lovely but it’s a pity about the view. Still, we’re on pilgrimage so we with have to put up with some suffering”. (The word “some” was underlined heavily.) Seated at breakfast the following morning, while other diners were selecting from the self-service breakfast bar, a woman opposite confided in me: “When you’re on pilgrimage you should be fasting and being holy: you never know when you’ll next get to eat, so I’m going to save this piece of toast ‘til later!” She giggled. I scribbled on another napkin.

Rose’s Gloss

An accountable feature of occasioned inquiries, something that can be observed or seen and hence be commented or reported upon, is the employment of a highly felicitous information-elicitation device which, in an appendix to a foundational article in Ethnomethodology, Garfinkel and Sacks (1970) refer to as “Rose’s Gloss”.

Rose is credited with a practical method of worldly inquiry “that makes deliberate use of the property that definiteness of circumstantial particulars consists of their consequences” (Garfinkel and Sacks, 1970: 366; emphasis supplied). Garfinkel means that the adequacy, veracity or “definiteness” of an utterance or statement embedded within the talk, i.e. a “circumstantial particular”, can be determined by noticing the “consequences” of producing this utterance. Put otherwise, how the respondent treats this utterance, what actions are performed subsequent to its production, for example whether it is confirmed or disconfirmed; its treatment as a “topic initiator” in the sense of its generation of topic; and, retrospectively, what topic it generated. By treating Rose’s first gloss in a sensible and meaningful way, the respondent’s second gloss provides the sense of the thing that Rose was talking about.
Rose explicates the use and usefulness of glosses in inquiries about the world. When a person is “moved to tell” (or makes a remark), then consider this move (or remark) to be a first gloss.xiii This first move, the first gloss, is followed by a second gloss: the second gloss may be produced by an interlocutor, commenting on or replying to the first gloss; or by an ethnographer, talking about the first gloss.

In the draft version of The Werald, Rose (1988) outlines a third gloss in talking about how to proceed in our inquiries, that is, by commenting on the ways in which we can study the world of people and their things – as they are known-in-common by people themselves – through their talk. Rose (1988: 2) enjoins sociologists to:

Have knowledge of the world of people start with and continue to depend on knowledge within that world. Listen then to people telling what they know about themselves. Reflect on what they tell.
Then on your own tell what you make of the talk of people about themselves and their world.

©2005-2006 Qualitative Sociology Review Volume II Issue 3

Rose’s Gloss, as brought forth by Garfinkel, approximates to a first gloss. By producing a first gloss on a thing in the world, Rose gains firsthand access to the thing from his expert or consultant on the world. By producing this first gloss on a thing, the world is “made available” to inquiry through people’s talk: Rose hears the world’s authentic, spontaneous and unrehearsed second gloss on the thing. The second gloss “repairs the indexicality” or provides the sense of the first gloss. In the second gloss, Rose hears the world commenting upon itself. The third gloss shows how valuable is the production of a first gloss to obtain the second gloss, the world’s commentary upon itself. Garfinkel (Garfinkel and Sacks, 1970) provides a third gloss through his discussion of Rose’s Gloss as an ethnographic technique.
Rose’s Gloss – by its artfulness, ordinariness and simplicity – allows an inquirer to gain access to parts of the world which are not intuitively available to him/herself, such as members’ knowledge of the world. Rose’s Gloss gets people to talk about the world and all its features as people themselves know them, providing for hitherto untapped sources of richly-textured versions of the world without influencing, structuring or organizing talk about the world.xiv

Rose’s Gloss elides a problem associated with interviews: How can an informant be asked a leading question when a question isn’t being asked of them? As Watson (Watson, oral statement, in Rose, 1994d) says,

the big problem of ethnographic interviews is that you tend to get your respondent ‘singing your song’: you set the relevances and he or she has to reply along those relevances. [Rose’s Gloss] at least minimizes that kind of interview interference.

To illustrate Rose’s Gloss, Garfinkel describes an occasion where Rose’s host collects him at the airport of a city with which he is unfamiliar. Whilst driving through the city Rose apparently looks ahead at something, and continues to look at it as the car drives past by turning his head. The “serial arrangement” of these “notable particulars”, namely doing “looking ahead” and doing “watching something go by”, is significant, in that Rose visibly engages in this sequence of activities (Garfinkel and Sacks, 1970: 366). When Rose remarks “It certainly has changed”, he knows that his host will find and understand that the “it” to which Rose refers is the thing that he has been watching – that which Rose observed from the car window.

Garfinkel reports that the reply (the second gloss) to Rose’s remark (the first gloss) (“It certainly has changed”), approximated to “It was ten years before they rebuilt the block after the fire”. Having intersubjectively established the topic of conversation, Rose’s host – and now Rose – understand and know what they are talking about, Rose produces further talk on the topic. Or, as Garfinkel says, “Picking [up the reply Rose] formulates further the concerted, sensible matter that the two parties are making happen as the recognizable, actual, plainly heard specifics in a course of a conversation: ‘You don’t say. What did it cost?’” (All quotes Garfinkel and Sacks, 1970: 366). In a seminar at the University of Manchester (which was taped and transcribed by this author), Rose challenges the accuracy and provenance of Garfinkel’s version of this incident (however, the analytical power of Garfinkel’s formulation, and of Rose’s Gloss itself, is not diminished).

Rose originally met Garfinkel at a conference in New Mexico. Garfinkel had been highly critical of an article that Rose had published with one of his graduate students about the “Small Languages” project (Rose and Felton, 1955), which Garfinkel regarded as experiments in simulation.xv During the late ‘Fifties and early ‘Sixties, Rose and Garfinkel visited each other frequently: Rose and Garfinkel worked at the University of Colorado at Boulder and the University of California, Los Angeles

©2005-2006 Qualitative Sociology Review Volume II Issue 3

respectively. On one of these occasions, Garfinkel collected Rose at the airport, to drive back to his home in the Palisades. Rose looked out of the window at a place that he thought he recognized.

Rose said to Garfinkel “They sure have made a lot of changes around here lately, haven’t they?” to which Garfinkel confirmed to Rose that changes “around here” had indeed been made and started to talk about them. In Rose’s account of this incident, however, Garfinkel suddenly stopped explaining these changes and accused Rose of “fooling”.

According to Rose (personal communication, July 11, 1996), Garfinkel treated whatever Rose said with suspicion, having recorded a conversation (Garfinkel and Rose, 1958) about Rose’s experiences as a “medium” whilst a graduate student at Berkeley. For Garfinkel, Rose was attempting to stretch his credulity too far if Rose would have him believe that Rose was so familiar with this particular neighbourhood of Hollywood. Garfinkel, however, was not in possession of the knowledge that Rose had in fact lived in that neighbourhood as a small child.

He couldn’t believe that I’d ever seen that place before, and that I’d said ‘They’ve made a lot of changes around here’ just to get him, as a native, to tell me what the ‘truth’ was, and I’d write it down as an ethnographer...

The utility of Rose’s Gloss as an ethnographic technique is questioned by Gumperz and Hymes (1972: 308), who regard the open-endedness of the opening remark, a first gloss, providing for too unpredictable a response, a second gloss, from the respondent. However, their criticism is based upon an intuitive approach to interaction, rather than naturally occurring interaction. Although Garfinkel’s account of Rose’s Gloss is a reconstructed account, it reports an interactional episode that actually happened, not an invented simulation or experiment. As Rose says, Rose’s Gloss is “a natural way to secure the truth” because “whatever [the respondent] would have said would have been the truth ... about that place. Where else would I get a more succinct, more comprehensive truth about that particular place?” (Rose, 1994d).

In 1965, Rose and his research team conducted an ethnographic project on Larimer Street, Denver’s Skid Row district. The supporting documents to the main report, The Unattached Society (Rose, 1997a), consist of verbatim transcripts of conversations between Rose and experts on Skid Row. This preservation of the talk allows us to read how Rose, in the course of his inquiries about the world, produces a first gloss or how “to comment is such a way that you induce a natural statement about what it is you’re interested in” (Rose, 1994d). In “A Quiet Strip” (Rose, 1997b), a conversation with Officer Schalbrack from the Denver Police Department, we find the following (Rose, 1997b: 79-80):xvi

S: Each drunk is handled in this manner: if he has a local address, I attempt to send him home first. In most cases he is incapable of taking this advice and if I find him on the street later, I arrest him and put him in jail to sober up or for any other disposition that the judge might make on the thing. That’s one of the problems of the afternoon shift. The next thing that I notice is that each particular shift will have a somewhat different group of people on it. I won’t run into those people on the night shift that I do on the afternoon shift.
R: The afternoon shift is a busy one, is that right?

©2005-2006 Qualitative Sociology Review Volume II Issue 3

S: No. The night shift will be the busiest one of the two. And towards the end of the month of the afternoon shift our logged actions will drop down considerably from the beginning.

I also use it for contact with the businessmen on the street, to find out what the current conditions of business are. I find that in periods of poor business they are inclined to complain a great deal more than they do during periods of prosperity.

Rose, wanting the inside story from an expert with insider’s knowledge, produces a first gloss (“The afternoon shift is a busy one, is that right?”) which will eventuate in the establishment of the veracity of the first gloss by attending to the second gloss (“No. The night shift will be the busiest one of the two”), which is followed by further explanation. Later (Rose, 1997b: 83):

R: On this first walk down the Street you stop in at the Wine Cellar, I trust?
S: That’s right.
R: That’s a special sort of bar, it seems to me.
S: Well, you are quite right. There is a large proportion there of homosexuals who hang out in that particular bar.
R: Do they hang out there or just visit?
S: There is a portion that hangs out in there and then there is an even larger portion that come to and from that bar. They have, oh say, half a dozen bars through the downtown areas, like that particular thing there.

In this sequence of talk, Rose uses a first gloss to consult an expert on the Street to uncover what the topic of inquiry should be, what the topic of inquiry actually is. In response to Rose’s gloss, “That’s a special sort of bar, it seems to me”, Schalbrack brings forth and topicalizes the presence of homosexuals on Skid Row. With the establishment and maintenance of this uncovered topic for inquiry, Rose’s subsequent utterances prompt further elaboration of these particulars by Schalbrack (Rose, 1997b: 83 ff.).

So we can see, then, that Rose’s Gloss unproblematically occasions the revelation of certainties, of truths or “actualities” of things and the histories of things in the world. It also realizes the use of members’ categories, rather than analytically imposed categories. Without structuring or organizing, without determining what is brought forth into the world, Rose’s Gloss helps the inquirer avoid some of the difficulties attendant with ethnographic interviews. As Rose (1988: 262) goes on to say:

Then make the inquiries. Go see what is shown. Go hear what is known by the world that is so wise.
As has always been done, make sense on your own behalf of what is shown and told. Find and give back what you hear as the world’s own wisdom and, when you can, give back just a bit more of your own.

I used Rose’s Gloss in the work of “passing” as a bona fide pilgrim. In Jerusalem, however, the incidence of my “passing” was not ubiquitous, as with Agnes (Garfinkel, 1967) or the pass-Whites of Colander (Watson, 1970). Moreover,
©2005-2006 Qualitative Sociology Review Volume II Issue 3
the “risks of exposure” were potentially but minimally embarrassing rather than potentially damning (MacIver and Page, 1950: 402). Some conversations were awkward but not consequential. That is, on the interactional level there was some discomfiture, though this was not on the level of stigma found elsewhere.

Thus I noted the first occasion when I replied to the question (variously asked by pilgrims in the party) “How are you finding the pilgrimage Andrew?” with “Absolutely amazing” and “I’ve seen some things I never thought I’d ever see”, or something along those lines. The response was unexpected. I was both surprised and relieved when my interlocutor said that he “knew just what I meant” and proceeded to tell me how he had felt on his first visit to the Holy Land – visiting places which were until then “obscure” words in the Bible.

Was that all there was to it? Just mumble something like “awesome”? No: it was the expression of being awestruck, of being moved in some way; it was the knowledge that pilgrims would take it for granted that I would be talking about a site of pilgrimage – why else would I be there on pilgrimage in the first place? – and possibly that I too would take it for granted that they were alluding to sites of pilgrimage.

Such encounters, or “escapes” from being branded as a fraud on a holiday to Israel not an inter-parish pilgrimage to the Holy Land, became easier to manage. Like Agnes (Garfinkel, 1967), I learned how to limit the danger of being exposed. Pilgrims might have inferred that I was talking about this or that significant place, and I relied upon their inferring a religious reference by saying something without being explicit about what particular things to which I was referring.

In Rose’s terms, producing a remark such as “I’ve seen some amazing things...” provides a first gloss.xvii The second gloss, produced by my interlocutor, provides the sense of the first gloss. Furthermore, I produce this gloss (“I’ve seen some amazing things...”) because I am attempting to pass as a pilgrim. Rose’s Gloss thus serves “ethnographic’ work by minimizing the tendency to provide limits or relevances for answers, as interviewing does, and by assisting in the maintenance of place as a bona fide participant (Goffman, 1989).


In this paper I have outlined some of Edward Rose’s contributions to ethnographic practices. These considerations have been attuned to glossing and passing, as members’ practices in the service of participant observation, and how these were affected as an occasioned inquiry during a pilgrimage to the Holy Land.

These settings – sites and sights in Jerusalem – are furnished as examples of the protean resources of ethnographic work. When making fieldnotes we have to be careful to separate out observations, how we defined situations, and analytic comments. Hence, when we return to our fieldnotes (each evening when writing notes up, or when we approach the corpus of notes) we are clear about the status of individual items within the notes.

Nevertheless, the ethnographer is involved in making observations and making sense of observations, prior to the involvement of writing up research and providing an analytic gloss (or perspectival “spin”) on observations. Rather than displacing the phenomenon through concentrating on writing about conventions and cultures via the analytic attitude (Clifford and Marcus, 1986), explicative ethnography requires attention to how ordinary sense is made of settings as constitutive of analytic or conceptual sense. It is recognition that the observer is a member of the self-same

©2005-2006 Qualitative Sociology Review Volume II Issue 3
setting being studied (Schwartz and Jacobs, 1979: 223) and uses the same (ordinary natural language) methods of sense-assembly as a setting’s cohort.

  1. i  The textual presentation of identities – the provision of adumbrated glosses of people’s categorial incumbency – risks the stipulation of identities that is artefactual and removed from the phenomenon of description. Pilgrims are not “reducible” to pilgrims, for example. See Schenkein (1978).
  2. ii  To such an extent that subsequent etymological analyses of sociological concepts, which exclude Rose’s work, are seen to contain a “bibliographic silence” (Carlin, 2004).
  3. iii  On the importance of the “Small Languages” project, see a review of the final project report (Rose, 1967) that discusses its sphere of relevance to anthropology (Birdwhistell, 1968). For detailed analysis of the “Small Languages” project, see Slack (2000).
  4. iv  Particularly The Unattached Society (Rose, 1997a) and its appendices; for bibliographic references, see Carlin (1999).
  5. v  This trend in Rose’s work is seen especially in his applied sociology and telecommunications evaluations (Carlin, 1999), and has been used as a successful method of eliciting information by his students, including Sam Burns, Jon Driessen, Charles Kaplan, Reyes Ramos, Warren Ten Houten. The epistemological shift of this trend – “making the world available” – emphasises that it is people, rather than discursive disciplines such as anthropology or sociology, who are experts in their own daily affairs, thereby returning the authority of accounts to people themselves instead of the usurping tendency of sociology.
  6. vi  For outcomes of this, see Carlin (1999; 2002a).
  7. vii  Another feature of analysis “in flight” is to know what analytic resources are
    available, or to “know the literature” (Becker, 1986). I suggest refinements to Becker’s notion as follows: 1. Knowing the literature so that if you do not know the precise term you are searching for, you know where to find it. So, for example, I knew that I would need to consult the Oxford English Dictionary upon my return from Jerusalem, to pursue etymological considerations (see below); I knew which arguments I needed from Rose’s work, it was a matter of locating them on particular tapes and in particular manuscripts; I knew I would require Sacks’ work on the commentator machine (1963), making inferences (1985) and normal appearances (1972). 2. Knowing the literature is not just a feature of writing up research, or devising a new study and writing a research proposal, but enables you to make “analytic sense” of observations in situ rather than post hoc reconstructions.
  8. viii  What Rose (quoted in Carlin, 2002b: 42) sardonically calls “The Great Sociologist”, who, unlike members of society, is able to see what is “really” going on.
  9. ix  On the significance of Rose’s formulation for doing sociology, the nature of ethnographic fieldwork, and the link with Membership Categorization Analysis, see Carlin (2003: 78-79).
©2005-2006 Qualitative Sociology Review Volume II Issue 3
  1. x  It was only later – months after our return from the pilgrimage – that I learned of others who had successfully ‘passed’ as bona fide pilgrims.
  2. xi  I did not intentionally search out a phenomenon in the world; rather, these worldly phenomena or topics of inquiry became available to me. In Rose’s terms, I was there when “the world walked by”. This means, however, that I was not prepared for the methods or contingencies of doing ethnography – I had no audio nor video tape-recorder with me, the technology which ushered in what Rose calls “the quiet (or ‘voiced’) revolution” (Rose, 1994b) in ethnography, to preserve retrievable materials for repeatable, exhaustive analysis and confirmation of observations. Rather, I had to rely on my fallible memory whilst inserting and appending marginalia on hymn sheets and tourist guides, before transferring each day’s jottings into a small, spiral-bound notebook in my hotel room.

  3. xii  Ethno-inquirers study the wording of the world by looking at words through history and how they relate to other words. One way of doing this is through the diachronic etymological method of analysis, pioneered by Rose (1960), to explicate the “natural sociology” of pilgrimage. This method makes available how members talk about pilgrimage, rather than how analysts re-describe pilgrimage. The word pilgrim is derived from the Middle English pilegrim, meaning one who journeys to some sacred place as an act of religious devotion. Pilgrimage is derived from a Middle English word, pilegrimage, meaning a journey made, or the act of making a journey by a pilgrim. In 1517, the word could also refer to a place to which a pilgrimage is made. We also know that from 1598, the word pilgrimize was a verb that could mean to play the pilgrim, or to go on pilgrimage. Holy day is derived from two Old English words, meaning a day set apart for religious observance, usually in commemoration of some sacred person or event; a religious festival. In Old English, holiday (in its uncombined form) referred to a consecrated day, a religious festival. Later, in its combined form, it referred to a day on which work is suspended, a day of recreation or amusement. According to the English Record, then, pilgrims are by definition on holiday – a pilgrimage is a collection or series of holy days. Hence, we can see how being a pilgrim on a pilgrimage is “linguistically constituted”, a worded pilgrimage.
xii For fuller discussion of “glosses” and “moves”, see Rose and Watson (1998).
  1. xiv  On knowledge of the world and procedural knowledge, or “knowledge how”, see
    Watson and Weinberg (1982).
  2. xv  That is, their friendship began before the term “ethnomethodology” was applied
    to the inquiries that they were both engaged in.
  3. xvi  Legend: R = Rose, S = Schalbrack.
  4. xvii  Of course, the first gloss here is an answer to a question. As such, this is a
    variation of Rose’s gloss.

I wish to thank everyone who was on the organized pilgrimage, and those present who kindly read earlier drafts of this paper in the spirit that it was intended. Edward Rose, Rod Watson, and Yves Winkin gave valuable comments on this paper. My thanks go to Lukas Marciniak anonymous reviewers at QSR journal for advice and suggesting improvements to the paper.

©2005-2006 Qualitative Sociology Review Volume II Issue 3


Becker, Howard S. (1986) Writing for Social Scientists. Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press.
Birdwhistell, Ray L. (1968) “Review of A Looking-Glass Conversation in the Rare Languages of Sez and Pique by E. Rose.” American Anthropologist 70: 830.
Carlin, Andrew P. (1999) “The works of Edward Rose: A bibliography.” Ethnographic Studies 4: 61-77.
------. (2002a) “Biography and bibliography: An intellectual profile of Edward Rose.”
Auto/Biography: A British Sociological Association Study Group Journal
10(1&2): 41-54.
------. (2002b) “Methodological irony and media analysis: On textual presentations in

the work of theorising.” Pretexts: Literary and Cultural Studies 11(1): 41-55.
------. (2003) “Observation and membership categorization: Recognizing “normal appearances” in public space.” Journal of Mundane Behavior 4(1): 77-91. Retrieved November 16, 2005 (
------. (2004) “On ‘owning’ silence: Talk, texts and the ‘semiotics’ of bibliographies.” Semiotica 146(1/4): 117-138.
Clifford, James and George E. Marcus (editors) (1986) Writing Culture: The Poetics and Politics of Ethnography. Berkeley, CA; London: University of California Press.
Garfinkel, Harold (1967) “Passing and the Managed Achievement of Sex Status in an Intersexed Person.” Pp. 116–185 in Studies in Ethnomethodology, Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.
Garfinkel, Harold and Edward Rose (1958) “Making Apparitions.” University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Garfinkel, Harold and Harvey Sacks (1970) “On Formal Structures of Practical Actions.” Pp. 337–366 in Theoretical Sociology: Perspectives and Developments, edited by J.C. McKinney and E.A. Tiryakian. New York, NY: Appleton-Century-Crofts.
Geertz, Clifford (1975) “Thick description: Toward an interpretive theory of culture.” Pp. 3-30 in The Interpretation of Cultures, London: Hutchinson.
Goffman, Erving (1989) “On fieldwork.” Journal of Contemporary Ethnography 18: 123-132.
Gold, Raymond L. (1958) “Roles in sociological fieldwork.” Social Forces 36: 217- 223.
Gumperz, John J. and Dell Hymes (eds) (1972) Directions in Sociolinguistics: The Ethnography of Communication. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston.
Lennard, Henry, George Psathas and Edward Rose (1963) “On conversations.” Report Number 8, Bureau of Sociological Research, University of Colorado, Boulder.
MacIver, Robert M. and Charles H. Page (1950) Society: An Introductory Analysis London: MacMillan.

©2005-2006 Qualitative Sociology Review Volume II Issue 3

Richman, Joel (1999) “Talking of evil in a special hospital: Vignette research.” Paper presented at the British Sociological Association Medical Sociology conference, September 24-26, York University, UK.
Rose, Edward (1960) “The English record of a natural sociology.” American Sociological Review 25: 193-208.
------. (1967) “A Looking-Glass Conversation in the Rare Languages of Sez and Pique.” Report No 102, Program on Cognitive Processes, Institute of Behavioral Science, University of Colorado.
------. (1988) The Werald. Boulder, Colorado: Waiting Room Press.
------. (1994a) “Waiting for the world to walk by.” Paper presented at the Manchester

Ethnography Group, October 27, Manchester Metropolitan University, UK.
------. (1994b) Edward Rose talking with Andrew Carlin, Roger Slack and Rod Watson, October 24, University of Manchester. Audio-tape.
------. (1994c) “Waiting for the world to walk by.” Lecture on Field Methods, August 8, University of Colorado/Uni-Hill Elementary, Boulder. Audio-tape.
------. (1994d) Edward Rose talking with Wes Sharrock, Rod Watson and graduate students, October 19, University of Manchester. Audio-tape.
------. (1997a) “The unattached society.” Ethnographic Studies 1: xv-43.
------. (1997b) “A quiet strip. Officer Schalbrack’s story told to Edward Rose and Anthony

Gorman.” Ethnographic Studies 1: 70-93.
Rose, Edward and William Felton (1955) “Experimental histories of culture.”
Sociological Review 20: 383-392
Rose, Edward and Rodney Watson (1998)
Brownian Attainments. Greeley, CO:
Waiting Room Press.
Sacks, Harvey (1963) “Sociological description.” Berkeley Journal of Sociology 8: 1- 16.
------. (1972) “Notes on Police Assessment of Moral Character.” Pp. 280-293 in Studies in Social Interaction, edited by D. Sudnow, New York: The Free Press.
------. (1985) “The Inference-Making Machine: Notes on Observability.” Pp. 13-23 in Handbook of Discourse Analysis Volume 3: Discourse and Dialogue, edited by T. van Dijk. London: Academic Press.
Schenkein, James N. (1978) “Identity Negotiations in Conversation.” Pp. 57-78 in Studies in the Organization of Conversational Interaction, edited by J.N. Schenkein. New York: Academic Press.
Schwartz, Howard and Jerry Jacobs (1979) Qualitative Sociology: A Method to the Madness. New York: The Free Press.
Sharrock, Wesley W. and Robert J. Anderson (1982) “On the demise of the native: Some observations on and a proposal for ethnography.” Human Studies 5: 119- 135.
Slack, Roger S. (2000) “The ethno-inquiries of Edward Rose.” Ethnographic Studies 5: 1-26.
Watson, Graham (1970) Passing for White. London: Tavistock.

©2005-2006 Qualitative Sociology Review Volume II Issue 3

Watson, Rodney (1997) “Prologue to The Unattached Society.” Ethnographic Studies 1: iv-xii.
------. (1998) “Ethnomethodology, consciousness and self.” Journal of Consciousness Studies 5: 202-223.
Watson, Rodney and Thomas S. Weinberg (1982) “Interviews and the interactional construction of accounts of homosexual identity.” Social Analysis 11: 56-78.
Carlin, Andrew (2006) “‘Rose’s Gloss’: Considerations of Natural Sociology and Ethnography in Practice.” Qualitative Sociology Review, Vol. II Issue 3. Retrieved Month, Year

( /ENG/archive_eng.php)