From “being there” to “being […] where?”: relocating ethnography

Katrina Pritchard (Department of Organizational Psychology, Birkbeck, University of London, London, UK)

Qualitative Research in Organizations and Management

ISSN: 1746-5648

Publication date: 15 November 2011



The purpose of this paper is to expand recent discussions of research practice in organizational ethnography by engaging in a reflexive examination of the ethnographer's situated identity work across different research spaces: academic, personal and the research site itself.


Examines concerns with the traditional notion of “being there” as it applies to ethnography in contemporary organization studies and, through a confessional account exploring the author's own experiences as a PhD student conducting ethnography, considers “being […] where?” using the analytic framework of situated identity work.


Identifies both opportunities and challenges for organizational ethnographers facing the question of “being […] where?” through highlighting the situated nature of researchers’ identity work in, across and between different (material and virtual) research spaces.

Practical implications

The paper provides researchers with prompts to examine their own situated identity work, which may prove particularly useful for novice researchers and their supervisors, while also identifying the potential for incorporating these ideas within organizational ethnography more broadly.


The paper offers situated identity work as a means to provide renewed analytic vigour to the confessional genre whilst highlighting new opportunities for reflexive and critical ethnographic research practice.



Pritchard, K. (2011), "From “being there” to “being […] where?”: relocating ethnography", Qualitative Research in Organizations and Management, Vol. 6 No. 3, pp. 230-245.

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