This essay considers practices of observation and description in postwar microsociology as a model for contemporary practices of reading. Returning to the work of Gilbert Ryle and Clifford Geertz, Heather Love contends that the dominance of thick description in both the humanities and social sciences has obscured the value of thin description as a method. Focusing on the work of Erving Goffman as well as large-scale collaborative projects such as the Natural History of an Interview, Love suggests that microanalyses of observed behavior provide a model for reading across disciplines.

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