What's Wrong with Ethnography?: Methodological Explorations

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Psychology Press, 1992 - Social Science - 230 pages
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While now widely accepted as an approach to social research, ethnography is still by no means uncontroversial. Current debates centre on its claim to capture an independent social reality and its realtions to social and political practice. There has always been a relativistic strand in ethnographic thinking, but this has become stronger in recent years. For example, there are those who (under the influence of post-structuralism and other recent philosophical trends) regard ethnographic texts as constructing the realities' they describe. Similarly, the distanced attitude of many ethnographers towards politics and practice has come under increasing challenge from those who seek to employ ethnography for the pursuit of practical and political goals. Even the longstanding debate about the relationship between quantitative and qualitative method has not been satisfactorily resolved. This book examines three issues. The author argues that traditional ethnographic thinking involves a naive relativism, an option that seems increasingly attractive to ethnographers.
 

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Contents

WHATS WRONG WITH ETHNOGRAPHY?
11
SOME QUESTIONS ABOUT THEORY
32
ETHNOGRAPHY AND REALISM
43
BY WHAT CRITERIA SHOULD ETHNOGRAPHIC
57
Ethnography relevance and practice
83
CRITICAL THEORY AS A MODEL
96
PARTS THAT EVEN ETHNOGRAPHY CANNOT
123
ON PRACTITIONER ETHNOGRAPHY
135
DECONSTRUCTING
159
THE LOGIC OF THEORYTESTING IN CASE STUDY
174
SO WHAT ARE CASE STUDIES?
183
Postscript
201
Name index
223
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About the author (1992)

Martyn Hammersley is Professor of Educational and Social Research at The Open University. He has carried out research in the sociology of education and the sociology of the media. However, much of his work has been concerned with the methodological issues surrounding social enquiry. He has written several books, including: "Reading Ethnographic Research" (Longman 1991); "What's Wrong with Ethnography?" (Routledge 1992); "The Politics of Social Research "(Sage 1995); "Taking Sides in Social Research" (Routledge, 1999); "Educational Research, Policymaking and Practice" (Paul Chapman, 2002), "Questioning Qualitative Inquiry" (Sage 2008), "Methodology, Who Needs It?" (Sage, 2011), and What is Qualitative Research? (Continuum/Bloomsbury, 2013)

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