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Ethnographic Methods: ethics, practice and theory

Thursday 23rd May 2013, 14.00-17.00. S0.20, Social Sciences Building

At its best, ethnography – often glossed as ‘participant observation’ – has provided sociology and other social researchers with a valuable tool for apprehending a world in flux. Across the humanities and social sciences (e.g. cultural studies, social anthropology, sociology), however, ethnography remains a ubiquitous research method that can often raise as many questions – ethical, methodological, political and practical – as it seeks to answer. This workshop will consider recent efforts to reassert ethnography as theory (rather than just description) in order to explore these questions. In doing so, it will survey recent scholarly debates about collaborative ethnography, multi-sited ethnography and the literature on so-called ‘new’ ethnographic objects.

Organiser: Dr Alexander Smith, Department of Sociology

Participants in the seminar are required to read Laura Nader’s ‘Ethnography as Theory’ (2011, HAU: Journal of Ethnographic Theory 1 (1): 211-219) as well as Matei Candea’s ‘Arbitrary locations: in defense of the bounded field-site (2007, Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 13 (1): 167-184). They are also encouraged to acquaint themselves with at least one book published as part of Manchester University Press’ New Ethnographies book series

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