This article outlines the strengths of applying ethnographic methods to policy evaluations, even to the study of exhaustively researched policies such as the New Deal for Young People (NDYP). Ethnography is understood as interdisciplinary, combining method and methodology into a perspective (Clifford, 1986) that looks at less conventional units of analysis, such as non-verbal expression and the symbolic use of objects and spaces. Four groups of findings from a study of the NDYP’s Voluntary Sector Option are outlined: the connotations of interviewing in the welfare to work context; institutional-disciplinary processes; deconstruction of dependency discourses and delivery space-time logistics. It is concluded that such a perspective is especially valuable in the context of normative social policies about which people have lay knowledge and common-sense beliefs (Brewer, 2000) and as such should be applied more widely to contemporary social policy evaluations.
Mitchell, G. (2004), "THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS AND WHAT ETHNOGRAPHY FINDS THERE: CRITICAL INSIGHTS INTO THE NEW DEAL FOR YOUNG PEOPLE’S VOLUNTARY SECTOR OPTION", Troman, G., Jeffrey, B. and Walford, G. (Ed.) Identity, Agency and Social Institutions in Educational Ethnography (Studies in Educational Ethnography, Vol. 10), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 187-204. https://doi.org/10.1016/S1529-210X(04)10010-7Download as .RIS
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