Coincidence by design

Germaine Stockbridge, Robin Wooffitt

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In this article we develop an approach to coincidences as discursive activities. To illustrate the range of empirical questions that can be explored in the analysis of coincidence accounts, we examine one single written account, which was submitted to a website of a research project to investigate the statistical dimensions of coincidence experiences. Our analysis is broadly ethnomethodological in that we examine this single case to identify how structural and narrative components work to constitute the recognizably coincidental quality of the events so described. The analysis identifies a mirror structure that resembles chiasmus, a figurative device found in classical texts. The analysis also describes how the account is designed to address inferential matters related to the site to which it was submitted. In the discussion we reflect on the implications of this approach for other approaches to coincidence.
Original languageEnglish
Article number0
Pages (from-to)437-454
Number of pages18
JournalQualitative Research
Issue number4
Early online date4 May 2018
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2019


  • accounts
  • coincidence
  • discourse
  • ethnomethodology
  • psychotherapy
  • relational psychoanalysis
  • synchronicity


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