Ethnography is the work of describing a culture. The central aim of ethnography is to understand another way of life from the native point of view. The goal of ethnography, as Malinowski put it, is “to grasp the native’s point of view, his relation to life, to realize his vision of his world.” Fieldwork, then, involves the disciplined study of what the world is like to people who have learned to see, hear, speak, think, and act in ways that are different. Rather than studying people, ethnography means learning from people.” (Spradley, 1980, p. 3) WHAT IS ETHNOGRAPHY
Description resides at the core of ethnography, and however that description is constructed it is the intense meaning of social life from the everyday perspective of groups members that is sought. (Dick Hobbs, 2006) WHAT IS ETHNOGRAPHY?
Method to discover systematically what human beings can do, and what they say about what they do Not a set of techniques but an epistemological choice for social scientific knowledge An epistemological choice that incorporates humanities approaches to understanding the world And thus a tool for discovering education and, reflexively, finding out what education is and what we can do about it. * Courtesy of Kim Powell WHAT IS ETHNOGRAPHY?
Ethnography is an orientation to research that embodies anthropological and/or sociological concepts. It is long-term, usually a 12 month minimum timeline of data collection with persistent, frequent observation. Ethnographic methods are the particular tools that ethnographers use: open-ended interviews, fieldnotes, participant observation, thick description. Many qualitative studies use ethnographic methods but are not ethnographies. * Courtesy of Kim Powell ETHNOGRAPHY VS. ETHNOGRAPHIC METHODS
1)Field Work/Participant Observation 2)Localized 3)Make Entrée 4)An outsider among insiders 5)Thick Description or the “imponderabilia of everyday life” – Malinowski 6)Foregrounding the problem of interpretation 7)Making the exotic familiar 8)Making the familiar exotic 9)Comparison 10)Concerned with tradition, the past, and moving that forward *Courtesy of Joe Valente JOE TOBIN’S 10 CORE FEATURES OF ETHNOGRAPHY
Interviews Fieldnotes Document collection Genealogies Life histories Film and photographs Researcher journals Maps and Mapping Sound Recordings *Courtesy of Kim Powell ETHNOGRAPHIC METHODS
Conversation and discourse analysis Coding/thematic analysis Narrative analysis Writing techniques from the social sciences and the humanities ETHNOGRAPHIC METHODS OF ANALYSIS
Origins of Ethnography in Colonialism “Crisis of Representation in Ethnography” (Marcus and Fischer, 1986) Rethink the goal of discovering an encompassing totality and speaking for others From realism to reflexivity *Adapted Form Kim Powell HOW CAN ETHNOGRAPHY HELP NON- ETHNOGRAPHERS?
Refers to the researcher’s awareness of an analytic focus on his or her relationship to the field of study It is intimately interested in issues of power, voice, knowledge production, and representation Whom and/or what am I speaking on behalf of? In what ways am I situated within my work and what are the implications of my positionality? How might I be implicated in the essentializing or objectification of people? REFLEXIVITY!