Doing Ethnography TodayTheories, Methods, Exercises
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
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
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.
Ethnography begins and ends with people. Combining both theory and practice, Doing Ethnography Today emphasizes the ways that collaboration provides the foundation on which contemporary ethnography is built and sustained. An unconventional guide to doing ethnography, this book shows that ethnography is personal as well as collaborative, creative and artful rather than analytical or technical, and, oriented towards dynamic and complex ideas of culture and society, has within it the possibility for social change. In-depth discussions of critical issues around contemporary practice are combined with exercises, which provide the opportunity to cultivate experience in ethnographic fieldwork, reading, and writing that explore collaborative possibilities for doing ethnography today. Coverage includes guidance on interview questions and selecting appropriate field equipment, while lists of suggested readings and websites offer additional resources on key subjects.
“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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