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Doing Ethnography Today: Theories, Methods, Exercises

ISBN: 978-1-4051-8647-6
160 pages
August 2014, ©2011, Wiley-Blackwell
Doing Ethnography Today: Theories, Methods, Exercises (140518647X) cover image


Doing Ethnography Today explores the methodologies and theories behind contemporary, collaborative ethnography and provides an opportunity to cultivate experience with included exercises.
• Presents ethnography as creative and artful rather than analytical or technical
• Emphasises the collaborative nature of ethnography
• Structured exercises cultivate practical experience
• Includes a discussion on indexing and interpreting project materials
• Provides guidance on interview questions and selecting appropriate field equipment
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Table of Contents

Preface x

1 Introduction: Conceptualizing Ethnography 1

Ethnography is as Personal as it Gets 4

Ethnography is Collaborative 5

Ethnography is Hermeneutic 6

Ethnography is Creative and Constitutive 7

Ethnography Grapples with the Idea of Culture, however Deeply Compromised 8

Ethnography is Mostly Art 8

Exercise – Taking Stock: Exploring your Limits and Possibilities 10

Suggested Readings 13

Suggested Websites 14

2 Fields of Collaboration 15

The Field Today 19

On the Actual Complexities of Collaboration 21

Exercise – Engaging Collaborators and Creating Research Questions 24

Suggested Readings 26

Suggested Websites 27

3 Emergent Design 30

Exercise – Intentional Reciprocity 32

Uncertainty and the Collaborative Process 34

Ethics and Ethical Commitments 36

Exercise – Developing Project Codes of Ethics 39

Recognition or Anonymity? 40

Exercise – Ethics, IRBs, and Other Subjects 41

Issues of Authority: Ethnographer as Facilitator, Research Participant as Counterpart 44

Exercise – Revisiting Project Limits and Possibilities 46

Suggested Readings 47

Suggested Websites 48

4 Engagement: Participant Observation and Observant Participation 50

Exercise – One Scene, Many Positions 54

Participation 56

Interlude: Equipment Check 61

From Participant Observation to Observant Participation 64

Fieldnotes: From Definitions, Meanings, and Practices to Storied Observations 66

Exercise – Developing Your Own (Fieldnotes) Style 69

On Fieldnote Forms 72

Exercise – Writing With 75

By Way of Conclusion . . . 77

Suggested Readings 80

Suggested Websites 80

5 Interviews and Conversations 84

Living with Interviews 87

Exercise – Issues for Interviews 89

The Changing Nature of Interviews 94

Exercise – Interviews as Conversations 97

Interviews (and Conversations) in Ethnographic Research 98

Exercise – Talking about Transcripts 104

Suggested Readings 108

Suggested Websites 109

6 Inscriptions: On Writing Ethnography 113

Exercise – Making Sense of Materials 116

“What is Ethnography?” Redux: On the Emergence of Contemporary Ethnographic Forms 120

Exercise – Writing Ethnography 126

Toward Collaborative Writing and Transformation 129

Exercise – Collaborative Writing 131

Suggested Readings 134

Suggested Websites 135

Index 138

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Author Information

Elizabeth Campbell is Assistant Professor of Curriculum and Instruction at Marshall University’s College of Education and Professional Development, USA. Before moving to academe, she worked in community development as a folklorist, writer, and museum curator.

Luke Eric Lassiter is Professor of Humanities and Anthropology and Director of Marshall University’s Graduate Humanities Program, USA. His books include The Chicago Guide to Collaborative Ethnography (2005) and Invitation to Anthropology (4th edition, 2014). In 2007, he founded the journal Collaborative Anthropologies and served as its editor or co-editor until 2013.
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“This wonderfully written text by two respected scholars fills a much needed space for doing field studies in contemporary times.  The authors draw on their own experience in conducting collaborative ethnographies to provide theoretical and methodological guidance for both seasoned and neophyte researchers.” – Elizabeth Chiseri-Strater, University of North Carolina, Greensboro

“Changing purpose and collaborative practice are reshaping the ways in which ethnographers 'do' ethnography; this fine book shows not only how but also why ethnographic research is evolving.” – Graham Crow, University of Edinburgh

Doing Ethnography Today is a book that practitioners, students, and teachers have been hoping to find for a long time. It represents a paradigm shift in understanding how ethnographies are created, and synthesizes the best practices of collaborative ethnography. Using it will give you a roadmap to create rigorous, ethical, and artful projects that can have important lives in the world.” – Rachel Breunlin, Neighborhood  Story Project

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