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In his opinion, the theoretical platform of the ethnomethodologists is much closer to Wittgenstein's philosophy than J. R. Searle's speech act theory expressly oriented toward this philosophy (Searle 1969). This is manifested, among other things, in the fact that Searle devotes his empirical study of speech almost exclusively to an analysis of meanings, explicated in speech, whereas ethnomethodology, following Witt­ genstein, considers language a very imperfect realization of thought (for a criti­ que of L.

Such an interpretation of a social role is radically different from the conception of the American sociologist G. H. Mead and existentialist-oriented West-European so­ ciologists, which reduces the causality of social phenomena to the psychological motivation of individual activities. Thus the behavioural aspect of a sociocultural system appears in this case not as a self-sufficient entity but in organic connection with social consciousness and, in the final analysis, with the system of productive relations underlying the society's class structure.

These elements include, among other things, the idea of social symbolism, understood as a "cultural mechanism based on the use of symbolic forms of behaviour for the adjustment of social relations" (Basin, Krasnov 1971, 164). Reflecting the adaptation of an individual to the social environment and the social situation, speech, as Ch. Bally put it, is an important fact of social symbolism (Bally 1961, 256). The concept of social symbolism may be successfully applied to sociolinguistic studies, provided, of course, it is placed in its proper perspective in a broad sociological context.

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