This book examines the meaning and implications of the sociological maxim, ‘make the familiar strange’. Addressing the methodological questions of why and how sociologists should make the familiar strange, what it means to ‘make the familiar strange’, and how this approach benefits sociological research and theory, it draws on four central concepts: reification, familiarity, strangeness, and defamiliarization. Through a typology of the notoriously ambiguous concept of reification, the author argues that the primary barrier to sociological knowledge is our experience of the social world as fixed and unchangeable. Thus emerges the importance of constituting the familiar as the strange through a process of social defamiliarization as well as making this process more methodical by reflecting on heuristics and patterns of thinking that render society strange. The first concerted effort to examine an important feature of the sociological imagination, this volume will appeal to sociologists of any specialty and theoretical persuasion.
Making the Familiar Strange