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Book part

Katherine Jensen and Javier Auyero

Ethnography is not only a set of tools with which to collect data, but an epistemological vantage point from which to apprehend the social world. In this vein, we…

Abstract

Ethnography is not only a set of tools with which to collect data, but an epistemological vantage point from which to apprehend the social world. In this vein, we articulate a model of teaching and learning ethnography that entails focusing on how to construct an ethnographic object. In this chapter, we describe our way of teaching ethnography as not simply a method of data collection, but as a manner of training that pays particular attention – before, during, and after fieldwork – to the theory-driven moments of the construction of sociological objects. How, as ethnographers, do we structure and give structure to the social milieu we investigate? In teaching the ethnographic craft, we focus on a specific series of elements: theory, puzzles, warrants, the relationship between claims and evidence, and the reconstruction of the local point of view. Moreover, we maintain that attention to these components of ethnographic object construction should be coupled with epistemological vigilance throughout the research process.

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Urban Ethnography
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78769-033-2

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Book part

Maria Amoamo

This research examines, in a case study of Pitcairn Island, the meaning of community. Such meanings emerge in the empirical field whereby the ‘field’ offers its own cues…

Abstract

This research examines, in a case study of Pitcairn Island, the meaning of community. Such meanings emerge in the empirical field whereby the ‘field’ offers its own cues to both issue and method. The main lesson learned from this ethnographic study stems from the experiential nature of fieldwork whereby ‘community’ is viewed as a cluster of embodied dispositions and practices. Influenced by Anthony Cohen's ethnographic work (1978, 1985) the case study demonstrates the centrality of the symbolic dimensions of community as a defining characteristic. Described as one of the most isolated islands in the world accessible only by sea, Pitcairn is the last remaining British ‘colony’ in the Pacific, settled in 1790 by English mutineers and Tahitians following the (in)famous mutiny on the Bounty. It represents in an anthropological sense a unique microcosm of social structure, studied ethnographically only a handful of times. Results show symbolic referents contribute to a sense of ‘exclusivity’ of Pitcairn culture that facilitates co-operation and collectivity whilst also recognizing the internal–external dialectics of boundaries of identification. The study reveals culture as a symbolic rather than structural construct as experienced by its members, seeing the community as a cultural field with a complex of symbols whose meanings vary amongst its members. Thus, connection and contiguity of culture continually transform the meaning of community, space and place. As such, community continues to be of both practical and ideological significance to the practice of anthropology.

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Field Guide to Case Study Research in Tourism, Hospitality and Leisure
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78052-742-0

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Article

Monica Gallant

The purpose of this paper is to describe a research methodology that was used to identify dominant socio‐cultural discourse using a feminist post‐structural lens.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to describe a research methodology that was used to identify dominant socio‐cultural discourse using a feminist post‐structural lens.

Design/methodology/approach

Based on a literature‐based study focusing on research methodology and theoretical frameworks, the conduct of an ethnographic case study is described in detail. A discussion of the reporting and analysis of the data is also included.

Findings

The study indicates that using an ethnographic case study approach is a very effective tool for identifying dominant socio‐cultural discourses. This in turn can lead to greater emancipation for women through discourse analysis and re‐positioning.

Research limitations/implications

This paper presents a focused literature study and contains a description of an effective research methodology for specific purposes. It may be of use to others interested in conducting similar types of research.

Practical implications

The study indicates that using unstructured interviews and a narrative reporting technique is a valuable way to collect data about socio‐cultural discourses in an Arabic context. The importance of the position, power, and reflexivity of the interviewer is also explored. In addition, the study suggests that successful feminist movements should be gradual and should take into account societal discourses to allow women to gain emancipatory action through re‐positioning themselves within their societal discourses.

Originality/value

The paper is one of the few attempting to describe an ethnographic case study approach with a feminist, post‐structuralist view in an Arab context.

Details

Education, Business and Society: Contemporary Middle Eastern Issues, vol. 1 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1753-7983

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Book part

Eric Tucker

This article begins with a brief reading of the state of the practice of empirical social science research on measurement before proceeding to the discussion of an…

Abstract

This article begins with a brief reading of the state of the practice of empirical social science research on measurement before proceeding to the discussion of an exemplary instance of this researcher's ethnographic effort to improve indicators of social capital formation. Given the central role measurement plays in social science research, it is appropriate, that a volume on methodological innovations in ethnography would contain a chapter about the relationship of ethnography to measure development. However, it is worth acknowledging that the line of argumentation advanced in this chapter is unconventional. The central tenant of this chapter – that ethnography has much to offer to the field of measurement and that ethnographers ought to take the contribution that they have the potential to make to the field of measurement seriously – at present might be thought to have little agreement either among those researchers whose primary focus is measurement or among ethnographers. This chapter contends that the features and strengths of ethnography specifically, and qualitative research more generally, makes it uniquely suited to contribute to the development of new indicators and the improvement of existing indicators. This chapter modestly hopes to encourage discussion of this contention and illustrate how this author sees his own ethnographic research into indicators of social capital formation as an attempt to address a pressing methodological dilemma within the field, more general of social scientific measure development.

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Methodological Developments in Ethnography
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-84950-500-0

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Article

Catharina von Koskull and Tore Strandvik

This paper aims to explore and demonstrate how an ethnographic research approach can reveal new aspects of the dynamics of service innovation processes. In contrast to the…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to explore and demonstrate how an ethnographic research approach can reveal new aspects of the dynamics of service innovation processes. In contrast to the retrospective research approach found in most service innovation research, the ethnographic approach captures the innovation process as it unfolds.

Design/methodology/approach

An ethnographical investigation of an incremental service innovation at a bank was conducted. The innovation activities were performed jointly by a team of bank members from various functions and external business partners. This was a formal project with a pre-specified plan, budget, and timetable.

Findings

The ethnographical approach, capitalizing on its real-time, multi-methods, longitudinal, and up-close characteristics, made it possible to capture unforeseen events and issues at the micro level. The authors suggest that such critical events determine what direction the innovation process takes. The initial intentions and plans were partly realized; new issues emerged during the innovation work and were realized, while other emergent issues were finally not realized.

Research limitations/implications

The study suggests a framework that can be used to identify four categories of micro-level processes. Critical events in the micro-level processes represent potential turning points and are important foci in practice and remain issues for further research.

Practical implications

Managers may benefit from being open to including emergent issues and understanding the micro-level dynamics of the innovation process.

Originality/value

This study illustrates how the ethnographic research approach captures the dynamics of innovation processes and the potential challenges and possibilities for innovation managers. This finding suggests the need to address micro-level dynamics.

Details

Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing, vol. 29 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0885-8624

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Article

Beate Sløk-Andersen and Alma Persson

This article explores the analytical gains of what we refer to as “awkward ethnography.” How might our understanding of organizational phenomena benefit from those…

Abstract

Purpose

This article explores the analytical gains of what we refer to as “awkward ethnography.” How might our understanding of organizational phenomena benefit from those unexpected moments when our observations are laughed at, when our questions cause discomfort, or when we feel like a failure? While such instances seem to be an inherent aspect of organizational ethnography, they are often silenced or camouflaged by claims of intentionality. This article takes the opposite approach, arguing for the analytical value of awkwardness.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors draw on their respective ethnographic fieldwork in the Danish and Swedish armed forces. Based on observations, participation and interviews in two military units, the analysis focuses on situations that rarely find their way into final research publications. These will be explored as analytically productive material that can provide crucial insights into the organizational context studied.

Findings

The authors’ analysis demonstrates that awkward situations that arise during ethnographic work not only bring about unforeseen insights; they also enable vital analytical opportunities for discovering silent knowledge in the organization which researchers might otherwise not have considered to inquire about or understood the gravity of.

Research limitations/implications

Implied in the suggested methodological approach for ethnographers is an acceptance of awkward situations as productive encounters. This means doing away with ideals for (ethnographic) knowledge production steered by notions of objectivity, instead embracing the affective dimensions of fieldwork.

Originality/value

This research addresses a key, and often silenced, aspect of ethnographic fieldwork, and stresses the unique value of the unintended and unexpected when doing ethnography.

Details

Journal of Organizational Ethnography, vol. 10 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2046-6749

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Article

Jennifer Petschler

The purpose of this paper is to explore emerging issues related to conducting research of an ethnographic nature for a case study based within the school environment where…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore emerging issues related to conducting research of an ethnographic nature for a case study based within the school environment where the author is a teacher and faculty coordinator.

Design/methodology/approach

This research paper provides an outline of the experience of the researcher. The research was a single site case study incorporating participants from different faculties and with different roles. The approach taken here allows for consideration of some key arguments in related literature, and the consideration of the voice and experience of the researcher.

Findings

This paper contributes to the understanding of the complexity of ethnographic style research including the needs of both researcher and participants. The need for an ability to move between a multiplicity of roles as school teacher, faculty coordinator, participant in activities and researcher, and the demands of this requirement are considered. Further, the effect of this complexity on the notion of voice in research writing is also discussed.

Research limitations/implications

The research was conducted by a single researcher at a single site. This presents some limitations in terms of the likelihood that while these issues may be present in a range of ethnographic case study environments, they may be experienced in disparate ways.

Originality/value

This paper examines the role of the researcher conducting an ethnographic case study. It contributes to the broader literature related to educational research through consideration of the personal decision making by the researcher and complex demands of this type of research. This is achieved through a contextualisation of the researcher's experiences within key arguments in relevant literature. It purports that whilst this approach to research is demanding, there are organisational advantages as well as important benefits related to knowledge, connection and understanding all of which can enrich the research process and the meaning ascribed to findings.

Details

Qualitative Research Journal, vol. 12 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1443-9883

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Book part

Jongi Klaas

This study examines the experiences and perceptions of boys and girls vis-à-vis racial integration in two former segregated South African secondary schools. The study is…

Abstract

This study examines the experiences and perceptions of boys and girls vis-à-vis racial integration in two former segregated South African secondary schools. The study is presented in a twofold way since it explores the ethnographic methodological understanding and dilemmas of conducting ethnographic race research in South Africa, and the gendered differences and identities through the manner in which the boys and the girls mediated racial integration in a micro school setting. These two dimensions are tied together in order to present a coherent relationship from the conceptual understanding of ethnographic race research to the dominant themes that emerged in the process of generating that knowledge. The study is part of a Ph.D. project, which was conducted in order to understand how the process of racial integration was experienced and perceived by students in two South African Secondary schools. In 1996 the South African government passed legislation desegregating segregated schools. However, a number of exclusive schools had already opened their doors to non-white students in the 1990’s. There had been studies conducted on these former segregated schools, which mirrored different dimensions from racial desegregation of schools to complex processes of racial integration (Bhana, 1994; Carrim & Mkwanazi, 1993; Dolby, 2001; Metcalfe, 1991; Valley & Dalamba, 1999). This study moved from a premise to study racially integrated schools with a relatively stable reputation in order to find out what is happening today in these schools vis-à-vis the process and extent of racial desegregation. What emerged at the end was a dialectic relationship between the gendered reaction to integration and the dominant school ethos.

Details

Identity, Agency and Social Institutions in Educational Ethnography
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-84950-297-9

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Article

Wendy Hein, Stephanie O'Donohoe and Annmarie Ryan

This paper examines the value of mobile phones in ethnographic research, and seeks to demonstrate how this particular technology can support and enhance participant observation.

Abstract

Purpose

This paper examines the value of mobile phones in ethnographic research, and seeks to demonstrate how this particular technology can support and enhance participant observation.

Design/methodology/approach

Reflecting in detail on one researcher's experience of incorporating this technological device into an ethnographic study, the paper considers how new observational tools can contribute to research beyond data generation.

Findings

The study suggests that the mobile phone can be an extension of the ethnographer and act as a powerful prosthetic, allowing the researcher to translate ethnographic principles into practice.

Research limitations/implications

This paper reflects on the uses of a mobile phone in an ethnographic study of young men's consumer experiences. Thus, the discussion focuses on a research site where the mobile phone holds a ubiquitous position. However, there are now more than four billion mobile phones in circulation worldwide, so whilst acknowledging important differences in research sites, this research can be seen to have wide implications beyond the study of young consumers.

Practical implications

The paper argues that mobile phones allow researchers to record their observations, co‐create data and share experiences with their participants in ways that enhance the quality of ethnographic interpretations and understanding.

Originality/value

Little research attention has been paid to how emerging technologies support the more traditional participant observer, or how researchers actually embed them within their fieldwork. This paper addresses this gap and considers the wide‐ranging role that technology can have throughout this research process.

Details

Qualitative Market Research: An International Journal, vol. 14 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1352-2752

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Article

Diana Rosemary Sharpe

The purpose of this paper is to discuss the contributions that critical realist ethnographies can make to an understanding of the multinational corporation.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to discuss the contributions that critical realist ethnographies can make to an understanding of the multinational corporation.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper draws on a discussion of methodological challenges in researching the multinational corporation and the ways in which critical realist ethnographies can respond to these challenges. The example of research on the transfer of management practices is used to illustrate this.

Findings

Taking the example of researching the transfer of management practices within the multinational, the paper argues that the potential of critical realist ethnography including critical realist global ethnography to contribute to the field of International Business and International Management remains relatively untapped.

Research limitations/implications

Adopting the sociological imagination of the critical realist ethnographer has implications for the kinds of questions that are asked by the researcher and the ways in which we seek to address these methodologically. Researching from a critical standpoint fruitful empirical themes for further research relate to the experience of change for example in business systems, internationalization of organizations and “globalization”.

Practical implications

The critical realist ethnographer can contribute insights into the complex social and political processes within the multinational and provide insights into how social structures are both impacting on and impacted by individuals and groups. Ethnographic research located within a critical realist framework has the potential to address questions of how stability and change take place within specific structural, cultural and power relations.

Originality/value

At the methodological level, this paper highlights the potential of critical realist ethnography in researching the multinational, in addressing significant questions facing the critical researcher and in gaining a privileged insight into the lived experience of globalization.

Details

critical perspectives on international business, vol. 14 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1742-2043

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