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Chapter 6

CMN 3103 Chapter Notes - Chapter 6: Autoethnography, Carolyn Ellis, Cultural Artifact


Department
Communication
Course Code
CMN 3103
Professor
Peruvemba Jaya
Chapter
6

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Chapter 6
Ethnographic Field Strategies
ETHNOGRAPHY DEFINED
!What is Ethnography?
o!“ In its most characteristic form [ethnography] involves the
ethnographer participating, overtly or covertly, in people’s
daily lives for an extended period of time, watching what
happens, listening to what is said, asking questions – in fact,
collecting whatever data are available to throw light on the
issues that are the focus of the research.” (Hammersley and
Atkinson, 1995, p.1)
ETHNOGRAPHY
!Conventional
o!Traditional cultural description
!!Systematic observation
!!Interpretation of shared meaning
!!Describes “what is”
!!Thick, rich descriptions
SOME EXAMPLES OF WELL KNOWN ETHNOGRAPHERS AND
ETHNOGRAPHIES
!Bronislaw Malinowski: Argonauts of the Western Pacific, published
in 1922.
!Evan Pritchards: published in 1937 Witchcraft, Oracles and Magic
Among the Azande, and later studies of the Nuer peoples.
!William Foote Whyte: Streetcorner Society published in 1943.
ETHNOGRAPHY
!Critical
o!Intentionally seeks positive change and empowerment
!!Reflective approach
!!Value-laden judgments
!!Describes “what could be”
!The reason why we use triangulation is to get at a case from all
ends of a triangle, from all angles and methods.
o!Getting at something from multiple angles or methodologies
to be able to get a clearer picture.
GETTING IN
!Mode of inquiry involves participant observation.
!Overt-covert controversy
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o!Overt – declare im the researcher
o!Covert – undercover researcher
!Researcher attitude
!Subjective motivation: based on personal experiences or
identification with the research topic.
!External motivation: access, proximity to data site.
!Very often practical issues take over while researching
GAINING ENTRY
!Become familiar with the people being studied
o!Start at the library
o!Look for referrals
o!Look for argot (specialized language);jargon.
TIPS TO GAIN ENTRY
!Develop a research bargain
!Identify and befriend a gatekeeper
!Seek out guides and informants
BECOMING INVISIBLE
!Researcher presence without causing undue group interference
o!Dangers of invisibility
!!Intentional misidentification: you may represent
yourself intentionally to become invisible and then
assumed role could be taken as real: e.g.. If you want
to enter into a drug dealing gang, and take on that role,
it could be problematic if that is taken for real.
!!Accidental misidentification: even if you do not
misrepresent yourself, just by association people
looking into the group may take you to be part of that
by association
!!Learning more than you want to know.
DANGERS OF ETHNOGRAPHY
!Ambient Danger
o!Dangerous research settings: endangers the personal safety
of the researcher.
!Situational Danger
o!Danger is triggered by researcher’s presence as the
researcher is a participant in the activity of study which itself
may cause and provoke and be a catalyst for a consequence:
such as
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