Virtual Society?

the social science of electronic technologies


Professor Wes Sharrock

Professor Wes Sharrock
University of Manchester


Wes Sharrock's (Management, Skill and Innovation in the "Virtual Organisation") long standing concern has been with the basic logic of sociological reasoning. This has led to his interests, on the one hand, in philosophy of social science and sociological theory, and, on the other, observational studies of day to day work in complex organisational settings. Following out the first of these interests, he saw that many of the critical problems were adressed in the work of either/or Ludwig Wittgenstein and Harold Garfinkel. Since both of these made problematic the issue of the relations between 'scientific' and 'ordinary' or 'common sense' explanations of conduct, they were fertile sources for the idea that sociological reasoning is not the exclusive province of professional specialists, but is routinely and extensively engaged in by members of the society as an integral part of the organisation of their practical affairs. Work situations in complex organisational settings provided an intriguing environment in which to study practical sociological reasoning. These interests have remained constant, and recent work has, on the philosophy science, involved the critique of cognitive theory, and on the 'ethnographic' side, the study of engineering design, print work, and the current Virtual Society? project.

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