Ethnographic discourse analysis – Part II

300_64486Another exciting take on (or: use of) ethnographic discourse analysis is Helen Gregory’s study of poetry slams. In her Art in Action: Exploring Poetry Slam with Ethnographic Discourse Analysis paper at ESA2009 (9th Conference of European Sociological Association, Lisbon, 02-05 September 2009) she tells us she is particularly interested in:

The merits of interdisciplinary research (combining especially sociology, psychology and the arts) the epistemological and theoretical underpinnings of such research what counts as a “text” the performative construction of auto/biography and identity and challenging the micro/macro divide.

She continues:Poetry_Slam

The study uses discourse analytic and ethnographic tools of enquiry to explore how slam participants mobilise poetry, informal conversation and other forms of action to weave stories about themselves and others.

It will be argued that these auto/biographies work both to construct individuals’ identities, and to help them to negotiate the status hierarchies which structure their daily lives and interactions. Ethnographic and discourse analytic approaches can thus be combined to produce an informative and sensitive account of the construction of identity in everyday interaction. I will contend that such in-depth explorations of micro level interaction are essential if we are to achieve a full understanding of the macro level social structures and processes which they help to constitute. After all, as Mead (1934: 37) notes, “history is nothing but biography, a whole series of biographies”.

(Pictures courtesy of Habse(e)ligkeit and Lone Star College)


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