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Generalizing from Workplace Ethnographies

Paul Edwards and [ Jacques Bélanger, Université Laval, Quebec]

Journal of Contemporary Ethnography, Vol. 37, No. 3, 291-313

Abstract

Two modes of generalizing from the large set of workplace ethnographies now in existence are compared. These are the results of the Workplace Ethnography (WE) data set and holistic modeling (HM) based on a more theoretically driven project. In the treatment of specific cases, there is impressive complementarity between the two. But the WE data fail to capture some key features of leading studies, because they do not treat cases holistically. They might also be developed by including studies not included to date. A more explicit theoretical approach offers some firmer grounds for generalizing, and new directions for comparative ethnographies arise.