Posts tagged ‘ethnography’

22 September 2011

Making bankers human

A Dutch anthropologist explores London city bankers. Blog at The Guardian.

19 September 2011

Deepest darkest Austria. An ethnography

Brilliant. I think I might take up culturalbytes teaching tip:

I am now assigning Walter Wippersberg’s 1994 Film, Dunkles, Rätselhaftes Österreich Dark, Mysterious Austria, to all my students! If you teach qualitative methods, consider including this in your syllabus.

Produced for Austria’s SBS-TV, this films poks fun at old-school ethnography from anthropologists and the National Geographic-esque like exposes on the exotic Africans and South American natives.

“A team of the All African Television network wanders into the darkest regions of the Eastern Alps. They observe the habits and rituals of the natives and make not one, but two ethnological major break-through discoveries.” IMDB

badethnography tell us that at

“At 5:40, we learn that the team has disproved the theory that Europeans are monogamous; starting at about 7:50, they describe the elaborate costumes and militaristic symbolism of clans of the Tyrol region of Austria; and at 15:00, there’s a great discussion of the curious obsession with “patently useless activities,” such as biking for no other purpose than biking itself.

Aside from the humorous commentary, it’s a great way of illustrating the sociological imagination,  which requires us to step out of our own culture and try to look at it through the eyes of an outsider — and, as C. Wright Mills put it, to recapture the ability to be astonished by what we normally take for granted.”

via badethnography via culturalbytes

27 September 2010

Anthropological fieldwork

Thoughtful reflections on a range of readings on (and doings of) fieldwork in anthropology on the Anthropological Fieldwork blog. Could make interesting reading for linguistic ethnographers and ethnographic discourse analysts.

12 March 2009

Discourse Analysis: A Way of Seeing

Discourse Analysis: A Way of Seeing. That should be the title of my (next) book. Copyright and patented here. Although I’ve unabashedly lifted it from Harry F. Wolcott’s Ethnography: A Way of Seeing in which he argues that ethnography is not simply a way of “looking” but — the subtitle says it — a way of “seeing”.

A way of looking refers, in this sense, to a set of methodological techniques to look at the field, e.g., participant observation, interviewing, case studies, field work in general, etc. A way of seeing, on the other hand, is this way of looking plus “how data subsequently are organized, analyzed, or reported” (p. 46), i.e., an interpretive position integrating the methods with a purposeful way of looking and describing, integrating theory and — central to Wolcott — an orientation to culture.

Now this all sounds eminently plausible and chimes with the way I have begun to think about discourse analysis. Many people think of it as a set of methods; some think of it as an approach, a perspective, a way of seeing, but then conduct and write up studies in which it turns into a way of looking. And many researchers engage with discourse analysis as a way of seeing. This was, in a way, what Teun van Dijk was trying to achieve by renaming the field “discourse studies” rather than “discourse analysis”, since the term “analysis” does seem to encourage the reduction to method.


Review of the second edition of Ethnography: A Way of Seeing (2008) available here, including:

This casual yet informed synthesis, written in an engaging style, is what sets Wolcott’s book apart from the humdrum of texts that discuss methods formally, often in a staccato, bland, and abstracted tone, usually detached from application except to highlight the method by tacking on a case study. By contrast, Wolcott’s excursion is a wonderful raft ride through the flows, eddies, and rapids of anthropological experience that is always theoretically informed.

25 February 2009

Discourse and ethnography

Leon Barkho’s paper “The Discursive and Social Power of News Discourse: the case of Aljazeera in comparison and parallel with the BBC and CNN” in the latest issue of Studies in Language and Capitalism (3/4) (p.111) combines textual (CDA) analysis with ethnographic analysis (e.g.,  observation, stories, field visits, interviews, media reports and style guidelines).