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pAlff J:fl
and years in the field, and how tlr .
tiaekroo'"s ol rackeceering. While che irnagined
moral concours ol rnanY of ttiese sett1ngs rn1ght
be cJeaf to researchers at die start and have
tieell prepared for. in orne chey can present
iooming tionzons of unforeseen actions. expec-
aoons and ,;sl<S. lt is not uncornrnon in field-
worlc- for exarnple. for die relacively relaJCed
and unpretenoous ai:rnosphere of subjects'
tiomes to beCollle, wich che shifting locales of
subjeCU' daily ves, irnrnersed in unconven-
oonal and surpnsingly precarious accivities. This
affectS research relacions in a way that the con-
venoonal sociability of the intervieW rarely
pases for parcicipantS. Subjects' liVeS are open
to a research surveillance in fieldwork well
be)'Olld what they rnight agree co in intervieW
research Open to view can be the full range of
c1rcumstances that comprise the day and the
night for a particular way of life. These, too.
mean that field relacions p0se a different breed
ol challenges trom those present in interview.
The chapters of Part 3 present these issues
as they occur. unfold, and are dealt with in prac-
oce. The authors instruct us in what it means in
praroce to spend days. weeks. if not months
comm1unent affects the social
is ti"'
re ati .. ,,
the researcher and the resea h Oris Of
' h re ed
Delamonts c apter. comparing the :. Sara
fieldwork typifying anthropologis:ad
tion Of
immersions in lengths of time and features
tion relat1ve y uncommon for
. 1so1a.
. d. . h oc1ol0o
which resu t in 1st1nct e allenges for -51ses,
panes. Jn the context of field research Pilrtici.
issues can expand as
.' ethlCal
their welfare, not JUSt the reciprociti and
interview and a rather limited body efs of the
' . b o ex ..... .
ential in1ormat1on, can e at stake. As ..
Ryen explains in Chapter 14, ethics link Anne
much with culture and communica:o up as
... n as th
present themselves as moral issues to 'Y
concemed. Danger. hostility and political
tivities can emerge to confront research ensi-
ipants. in ways mostly talked
interv1ews, as N1gel F1eldmg (Chapter IS)
Les Back (Chapter 16) explain in their e and
. b d Ontr1.
butions. lt 1s a un antly clear that the s .
relations of fieldwork are anything bue sim ly
macter of a suitable research encounce/ da
. an
proper data-co ect1on procedure.
--------.... ,,
Ethnography and participant observation
Sara Delamont
canyon. smokc from mcat fircs driflcd
pown ':e ccdar and mcsquitc trccs, and if 1 squintcd
1hiOugh . thc sun s sctting, 1 could almost prctcnd that
fllY cyCS:ldicrs in silvcr chcst armour and bladcd hcl-
5pan15h long dcad racc of huntcrs wcrc cncampcd on
rn<=IS or
. des Or maybc cvcn old compatriots in but-
jiOSC b1il SI . . d f .
brown wcnding thcir way in an out o h1story -
icrnut hurian, thcir carnstcr-nppcd colors unfurlcd
gallanl, Artiog smokc. thc fatal light in thcir faces a
1hcro11 .
'" . that thc conicst is ncvcr qmic ovcr, thc field
ncvcr quite mus.
Lee Burke (1993: 344) captures, in the
graph of In the Electric Mist with the
finarfilPJ::aie Dead, ali the important things about
Con e aphy We need to use ali our senses:
ethnogr d h (S 1
11 Sl
.ght hearmg, taste an touc to ler,
sme ' 11 d ft h
; Wafer, 1991 ). Sme s. n , we ave to
t to see in the ro1lmg (1.e., turbtd) smoke.
squ1n h
eldsite may be among unter gatherers, or
mi . .
S nish soldiers. Our contest ts never quite over,
field is never quite ours. And, of course, if
:re were ali able to write as weH as the
social sciences would be much ncher. Wntmg
well is particularly importan! in qualitative
research, al ali stages from planning to publica-
rion. So too is reading: reading wisely and
widely throughout the process 2002).
This chapter shows how part1c1pant observa-
rion is actually done. The processes of conduct-
ing observational research will be explained and
illustrated with examples from ethnO!:,'Taphies.
There are three sections. The first section
explores what is meant by ' ethnography', 'field-
work' and 'participant observation', locales
11 these three tenns in relation to the wider tenn
'qualitative research' and clarifies their place in
anthropology and sociology. In the second part,
ways in which ethnography is done in anthropol-
cgy and sociolo,ry will be contrasted using four
fictional researchers. Third the processes of
cond '
uctmg ethnographic research are explained
with three . subsections on watching, recording
and The reflection section will, by
defimtion, mclude material on how ethnographic
research is wrinen and how it is read. The ' watch-
ing'. section explores the cycle from access nego-
ttallons through to exit from thc field.
Two bodies of scholarship will be drawn on -
anthropology and sociology. Sorne coverage of
the history of the method in each discipline
ensures that the pioneers in anthropology such as
Boas and Malinowski, Zora Neale Hurston and
Camilla Wedgwood on the one hand, and in socio-
Jogy of the women and men of Chicago on the
other, are recognized. From the anthropological
side, examples come from the anthropology of
Europe (Delamont, 1995). Research conducted
on British social anthropologists (Delamont
et al., 2000a) is also drawn upon. lnterviews
were conducted with lecturers and doctoral
students in four universities: ali universities
('Kingford', 'Southersham', 'Masonbridge' and
'Latchendon') and respondents are protected by
pseudonyms. My own background is in anthro-
pology: the British variety taught at Cambridge
in the 1960s. I was taught by Edmund Leach
(1984, 2001), one of Britain's greatest anthro-
pologists, who introduced structuralism to the
UK. After graduation 1 decided to use anthropo-
logical methods in the British educational
system, and thereforefaute .de mieux 1 a
sociologist. In that era, domg fieldwork m the
UK made a career as an anthropologist almost
impossible (on this point see Jackson, 1987, and
Pink, 2000). The interview with Dr Hemck of
Masonbridge (Delamont et al., 7.5)
reflects on this: ' My PhD was done m Bntam,
which was extremely unusual at that ttme m
Britain . . . most people feel who've worked m
Britain that that kind of work was not
. h thropolog1cal
larly regarded by the Bntts an
establishment as proper anthropology . . . the
1 rela1ed tcrrns - ethno-
niere are thiet e ose .Y. t obsfrvation - ali of
. .-hy. fiddwork. participand r term qualitative
5'"'!'": .... rt of a w1 e
which are .--: . researth can include rnanY
researtll- Quah&a_:Ch as manY varieties of inter-_
ditferctll methOds . k and rhc collection ol
. ..,.,.. '""'"UltY "or 11
vicw ....,..... .. - d mental maps. as we as
__,,,..,,, constlllcts an .
!"''--. The vast majority of the
otiscn'llllOO ed . the ruo<t wenty years IO d1s-
sllJ(CS cooduCI JO Y- d
e lines other than anthropology have been base
: of one sort or another rather. than
thnOl,'fBJlhY as Atkinson ( 1997), Atk1nson
( 1997), Delarnont ( 1997) an.d
[)c]arnOlll et aL (l000b) havc pointed out Th1s
cblp!Cr is aboUl proper ethnography. that is. part1-
cipanl otiscrvation done dunng fieldworlc
Participan! observation. ethnography and
fieldwork are ali used interchangeably m the ht-
cranue. and are therefore synonyrnous: they can
all mean spending long periods watchmg people.
coupled with talking to them about what they are
doing. thinking and saying, designed to see how
tbey understand their world. 1 use ethnography
as the most inclusive term, with participan!
Qbservation and fieldwork being useful descrip-
tions of the data-collcction technique and the
localioo of data collcction. Fieldwork is the data-
colkction pilase of the research process, espe-
cially when researchers leave the university and
go out into the world. So a person who sent out
posW questionnaires would probably not talk of
fieldwork. whereas an investigator doing partici-
pmnt observation, or ethnographic interviewing,
m a factory. a hospital, a school or a village in
Portugal would do so. The tenn can cover col-
lecting qwmtitative data (for example a census) if
diese data are collected 'in the field', especially
lbing a period of ethnographic observation. We
can therefore define the term for this chapter as
follows: is the term used in qualitative
mearch 10 coer the data-collection phase when
mesugators leave their desks and go out
JDIO the The field' is metaphorical: it is
llOI real field, but a sening ora population.
Participan! obse\ation is used to cover a mix-
::: of observa!!. and interviewing. In the field
cul rcsean:hcrs a1m 1s to understand how the
tures !bey are studying ' work., that is, to grasp
what the world looks like to tb
in the fishing village, the peop)e Who
rnining community. The rescar hng schoo1 0 ve
. h . . c ers n r -
covcr w al t e1r peoplc believe eed to
al work and m their le1sure they is.
1hem Jaugh, cry and rage; who the What lllak do
and fear; and they choosc thei Y ha es
endure their relat1ons. This is do br fnendi, le
. ne y 1 "d
the people stud1ed, watchin , vmg \Vi
and play . thmkmg carefully about : them
interpretmg 1t and talkmg to thc . hat is sce
. . . actors
the emergmg mterpretat1ons. The o check
' b . d terrn
pant o servallon oes not usually . Part1c1.
ticipation: researchers do not real par.
teach classes or dig coal, rathcr the Y catch fish
things bcing done, and 'hclp' occ
. . . as1onal1
1mportant to part1c1patc enough 1 be y. t is
write fcelingly about the naturc of able tQ
pams and pleasures, smells and sou de work: its
and mental stresses. Howevcr,
cannot actually spend the whole f searchcr
. . me fish
teac mg or 1ggmg coal, becausc that mg,
vcnt both studying other members Pre-
world and, perhaps more vitally, time e social
ing thc fieldnotes, thinking about the

writmg down those thoughts, and systec

tcstmg t e milla ms1ghts in the setting S
tic1pant' does not mean doing what
b d d b
. . se mg
o serve o, ut mtcractmg wllh them wh"I h
do it. The researcher may do the same e
that is no/ a requirement. gs, ut
In traditional anthropological fieldw k
. m ,
researc ers go to a 1stant location, possibly in
an underdeveloped country the other sidc of the
world, and the fieldwork may last two years or
more. In socwlog1cal research, the field is more
usually visited on a daily basis with researchers
retuming to their home al night. Thcse are the
two main types of fi eldwork, which we can gloss
as total immersion and partial immersion. In
anthropology and sorne varieties of sociology,
researchers have traditionally moved to live al
the fieldsite: in the fishing village, in the board-
ing school, on the housing estate next to the coa!
mine. In such cases rcsearchers are totally
immersed in the culture under study, twenty-four
hours a day. Most observational research in socio-
logy and education and the applied disciplines is
based on a more partial immersion: researchers
eat, sleep and rel ax at home but spend a large
chunk of the twenty-four-hour period in the
factory, the hospital or the school. The biggest
difference between these is probably the amount
of intellectual and emotional support ava1lable
from academic supervisors or colleagues. In total
immersion fieldwork researchers may be very
isolated, very lonely, and lose their way. Contact
is likely to be by letter, often with a long urne-lag
despatch an any advice arrivin , ti ATION
. g rom
11<''.:e Jn ,oth tlota an immersion field- survey and statistical . 207
IJO bCing fu) y engage m another culture is a was robustl techniques en
" non. When the research is done h spread 10 empirical, and th.cago sociology
,ifle qll ali ethno!,>TaPhy: a theorized accou'
(Decgan cemres of sociolo
,tsull studied with ethnographic
the mos; importa'
001 ). In m hthe USA
illl c11h.,.- s. world f nt sociolob'Y d , w ch was
sivc . 1892 until 1935 epartment in the

. nogr.iphY has a long history i.n both social
cultural anthrop_ology and m sociology.
s!lll hke to cla1m that they have
custody of the real, true ethno-
thl h (Delamont et al., 2000a) and rely on thcir
J the rnethod to dist!nguish themselves
U>cioricallY from other social As a
illhD student at Sout.hersham, Lou1sa Montoya,
P d
. The quahtat1ve methods used in anthro-
101 ll . fi h. d" . .
lo!D' are speci 1c to t 1s 1sc1plme.' Hirsch and
feel able to state that while other
disciplines may do .r cla1m to do ethnographic
feidwork, th.e term an ethnography' to to a
monograph 1s confined to anthropolog1cal cir-
c1cs' (p. J). In the face ofsuch claims, arguments
hal there is a anthropol-
O'l.Y and other d1sc1phnes seem ummpressive. lt
i; uue that anthropologists have used ethno-
gaphY as their mam and. that no other
iechnique ( expenment, quas1-expenment, survey,
observation w1th pre-spec1 fied schedule, ques-
iionnaire-based interviews, life history collec-
tion, archiva) or documentary scrutiny, or
narrative analys1s) has ever ri valled it.
Anthropologists have used sorne other tech-
niques as subsidiaries to living in a culture full
time, but only as subsidiaries (Faubion 2001
Macdonald, 2001 ). In the USA, Boas is
ihe pi.oneer of fieldwork, inspiring disciples
mcludmg Ruth Benedict and Margare! Mead
(see Behar and Gordon, 1995). Zora Neale
Hurston's work prefigures much contemporary
debate (Hernandez, 1995). In the UK., Malinowski
usually with inventing fieldwork, and
bis d1sc1ples mcluded Audrey Richards and
Wedgwood (Leach, 1984; Lutk.ehaus,
has u_sed . ethnography as long as
" p gy, that is, smce the l 890s but it has
uen been f: h" '
E!lmogra h as tonable, a minority pursuit.
Y. as n.ever had the status, and sole
anthropolon, that it had, and has, in
methods gy. thnography and other qualitative
were po d . neere at Ch1cago, alongside
LcC.ompte, 1998). carly 1960s (Plan,
Smce the mid- 1 ,
of qual"ta 970s there h be
, t1ve methods in . as en a rcbirth
growth m their po ul . . soc1ology and a ra id
nursmg studies a:% m edui:ation,
Atkmson et al. , 2001) Jo er social sciences
books and h umals, textbooks, hand-
growth has not, h ave all developed Th.
anthr owever united s
opological uses r' h sociological and
and Atldnson, 1995) in t e method (Delamont
have been severa) . the .Past decade therc
traditional ethnogra f:c.alyphc statements that
wrong, but in this ph y is dead. That is simply
rehearse the fere is no space to
where (Delamont et al, covered else-
2003). Traditional eth ' Atkmson et al. ,
strongly as ever. no,'Taphy continues as
To illustrate so 1
ethnography og1cal versus anthropological
researchers 'start1"ngcan 1chonRtrast four fictional
' w1 achel Ve de
anthropologist, and Lucilla M . . nn r, an
logist, both doing PhDs at a socio-
students _are used for these fict7o!i
because, m practice, the bulk of the ethnop . s
done in both disciplines is
i:cte by doctoral students or junior scholars
cause semor ones can rarely get time or mone'
to conduct sustained feldwork themselve{
two fictional characters are based
e.mpmcal research on young scholars, the pub-
hshed reports on fieldwork,
an.d expenence watching young colleagues over
th1rty years.
Rache) Verinder has graduated in
social anthropology, and has been offered a
sch_olars.hip to do a PhD at Boarbridge
Umver.s1ty. She and her thesis supervisor,
Dr Selma Goby, decide that Rachel should do
research on Galicia, a region in north-westem
Spain, and the Galician separatist movement.
Rache) did A-level Spanish and has spent severa)
holidays there since, and she is interested in
Atlantic maritime cultures, the lives of women in
fshing communities and regionalist movements
JOI achel stays in
. . for nine of social
in Euroi>C . rnproving her hropology of
aoerl>ndge. 1 especially the . ant reading aboul
ant/\rOPOlndogyo.t' rnaritirnc soc1e11es, "d learning
,,ft.,,,,. a . of spain. .... .
"':'Y" anJ other regions cks appropn-
Gahc1a Then she P . d
die GaJician language. ment for collecnng a d
ate clothes and equ1p ra. minidisk recorder,fian
uch as a digital carne and sets off rom
of noteboOks and When she
Boarbridgc for the ferry d. for Galicia, and
lands in Spain she hea ,; where she will hve
searches out a fishing has to try severa!
for the next ycar one that has a bus
villages befare sho in has a family who are
service to the nearest town, and has fishing boats
prepared to rent her rch is similar to that
still working. Rache! 1988), American
done by Canad1an Australian (Jusi, 2000)
(Recd-Danahay, 19 d ),1996) anthropologists in
and Bnnsh Goddar .
Europe over the past the same time,
Lucilla MaJonban s s rvisor Dr Henry
d des with her supe
an ec1 h 11 do an ethnography of stu-
Ccntum, s e ;:; laboratory technicians at a
(vocacional) college. is a
ata college, ' Midhurst', m Boar n ge, so
live at home' . She spends about
months reviewing the literature on vocauona
education on laboratory technicians, on sc1ence
and education and on . quahtauve
thods Dr Centum insists that Luc1lla wntes a
o.her methods chapter, a review of the
lilerature. and a 2000-word paper on her fore-
shadowed problems, thal is, che ideas she expects
develop during the observauon. her
ideas are clear, Lucilla writes to the Pnnc1pal of
Midhursl College. to ask for access both to the
institution and to the specific course. He agrees,
and despatches her to the staff who teach it; they
agree, and she is able to start her data collecuon
with a fresh cohon of students in September, a
year after she began to be a student. (Outwith the
USA clearance from Human Subject Committees
is needed only for medica) research.) This will
produce a sociologicaJ ethnography of an educa-
tional institution like those done by American
(Raissiguier, 1994; Valli, 1986), Australian
(Walker, 1988) and British (Gleeson and Mardle,
1980; Riseborough, 1993) investigators.
Meanwhile in Galicia, Rachel starts her field-
work. Tbe most imponant pan is living in the
village, and watching what goes on. When it is
not feasible to join in, she will watch what she is
to. Once the villagers have got used to
her around, watching is supplemented with
talkmg. Rache) talles informally to everyone
does formal interviews with people,
collecting their family trees and he .
stories, plus gathcring folk tales ilnng lheir
k and lfe
tening to goss1p, JO es and leg ds""ngs
en A 1:.
worker 1s hke Y to draw maps of th . fie)d
the insides of houses, of the grave e V11Jage
J Yard d' of
of the seatmg P ans at weddings

layout of fishing boats and anythin r Unerais, !he
a spatial angle. Rache) will count else lhat has
residents in the village, count the fi e hnull'lber of
measure the sizes of fields, ing boais
iures, count cows, sheep and pigs, esitnd J>as'.
size of the fishmg catch, work out h lllate the
courists come, how many get the: ll'lany
day, how many cars, taxis, motor scao USeach
even bicycles there are, how many u . ters and
school and so on. P P
ls in !he
Jt will be important to hear wh
Galician and who does not, and whc
and Castilian (Spanish) are used. lf; Gahcian
allowed on a fishing boat she will go .facheJ is
will find out why women are not dnot she
on them. The lives of the women wi)) e to sail
be eas.icr for her to than those

there 1s separallst pol.1t1cal activity, Rache! n. _ir
try to attend any mectmgs, meet the acti . wiH
. . . v1s1s and
discover w at 1s motlvatmg them. A.pan fro
what she can, and what she can Jeam b /"
tening and askmg, there may also be docu Y is.
. h d d . ments
Rache m1g t spen ays m the provincial .
tal working on municipal archiva! material capi-
h d I )
.. ,Otm
the cal e ra or ecc es1ast1cal records, or both lf
the Galician regionalist movement has
newsletters, pamphlets or books, these will ali be
read. Rache) m1ght get the schoolchildren to
write her something, or ask to read letters senr
home by villagers living abroad.
While Rachel is in Galicia, Lucilla is doing her
ethnography ofthe students in the vocational col-
lege, in Boarbridge. Lucilla can intersperse her
data collection with teaching undergraduates,
going to seminars, seeing her supervisor every
week and using the library. She is only in the
field for short periods of sorne days, does not
have to leam a foreign language or eat strange
food. She goes to the college nearly every day,
sits in the lectures and workshops, writing pages
and pages of fieldnotes. She interviews the
lecturers, formally and informally, and she hangs
out with the students, sometimes going out with
them socially. She talks to them in their breaks,
and she interviews them formally too.
One difference between Rache! and Lucilla's
fieldwork is the focus of the research. Lucilla and
Dr Centum try to keep very tightly focused on
pre-specified tapie: the occupational soc1ahza-
tion and student culture of the trainee laboratory
technicians (see Coffey and Atkinson, 1994). To
gather data on the catering staff, or the fine art
. course, or the people takmg academ ..t.T10N
1111on 1 Id be . ic d
p.-CI t night schoo ' a d1straction one, she sta . 20<l

roject. a d1vers1on. lf Lucilla drifted' villagc, and
ns to PUblish llrlicl
, Jitlerent p would force her back to ' her' topic' erable time, sownie a book. That es about 'her'
Rache) is more likely to settle on Village, the

if Rache! a consid-
n contfllS only on her retum to Boarbridge. She or so. Jane Cow ould probably a 000 in her
.,tit foeus et rnore. because once 'home' she i fieldwork in Soh an'. for example r:fr in 200s
: 10 able to go back. Lucilla, :hD in 1988, ar: In the 1983-s rnain
1 rt'11J1s n retum to consult documenrs or re achel 's career her book go1 her
n t, ca d d - lect . u:r he Ph in 199()
'()nlfllS articipants; an m eed much of what uresh1p and ret r D should in IUd .
ew ped is not 'in the field ', but in Jibraries over the next ten y um to Ga!icia penodc. e
" y ne B b d next ears or . 1cally
;11e J!l3 s elsewhere m .oar . n ge. . p1ece of research so. She might do
Jlld oftce hel goes on hvmg m the village she region of Spain (e

Gahc1ans in sorne

p.s Racthat she has been tol? different things :nother country as atalonia) or working
,. ill find nt people and she w11l set out to find nd Buechler, J 98 I

b)' d1ffereAs her Galician improves, she will spot separatist movemen; in ). She rnight study er
iJlll wtiY Je were Jying to her, and find out wby froAt the end of her country. a
t113l peodp so 11 is common, for example for . m Midhurst, although h cilla, too, withdraws
d1 ' views h s e m1 h
think that outs1ders are tax inspectors
. wit the trainees g t s111J do inter-
,-illagers ts spies or other undesirables. As he; hramees when they go
or staff, or meet the
(IA. of the people and the place deep- to She cou)d
will be able to come up with more be ow up stage ofthe project as a formal
ens. e questions to ask: to cross-check her
cause she and her infi
ese are casy
and corroborate earlier information, to test Lucilla too are . ali in
,Jeasd eloping hypotheses. She also makes
11 1
(although she shou/d hav be orgamze her
her ev nd gets involved. ong, transcribing intervie: en do1ng this
spends more time in Midhurst : and interview putting her
e of Further Education she discovers that the: e them). Usingp a A.tlasT1

the Jecturers bitterly resent her presence. s:e wntes her PhD, and then
is openly rude, the other keeps suggesting severa! and 1deally a book. This te!
,, does not come to hts classes because they are but h Perhaps she too gets a le
s... . h 1 d -
b . s e1smuchles l'k
cures 1p
.ne' 'bonng or t e a s wt e usmg bad re stud . s 1 e y to revisit Mi' dh
rou . . . . . - y tramee 1 b urst or
1 gu
age'. Th1s man has temble d1sc1pltne prob- FE h oratory technicians
an h h' . er career wo Id be r even
s which make watc mg 1s classes embar- next p . enhanced by doing h
' d d' l'k h roJect on ad ffi . er
The ru e man ts 1 es t e changes in of b'
. erent top1c, perhaps a te
. 1 d . h h to og1sts workm ' am
English vocat1ona e ucatlon t at ave occurred stem cells g on mosquito control or
ol'erthe past twenty years. He yeams for the 'old lf R h. l V . .
] d ace ermder1
days' when vocat1ona ucat1on was d.ominated researcher she h s gomg to be a successful
by young male apprent1ces who carne m on day village and to go to. her Galician fishing
release to leam trades. Both these men refuse to her d ta Sh . to Boarbridge with
be interviewed, and will not talk to her in the diet : failure tf she hates the staple
common room or dining hall. They see her as the sayin tmhuc .
t at she comes after a week,
,. g e v1 agers are barb H
umvers1ty s spy, oras an m1ormer working for is al i .
. anans. owever, she
!he Principal. The other staff are friendly, and not than Gat if she becomes more Galician
, at all interested in what Lucilla is doing. The di ahcians. lf Rache! stops writing her
srudents are puzzled by her research: it is not and .recordmg data, and thinking
sc1en11fic. They are going to getjobs in laborato- Ji ht of opol?gist, and becomes a leading
nes m proper subjects like electrical engineering stfe has separaust tben
and computer science. Overwhelmingly male R h 1 1 gon.e nattve . lf Dr Goby VISlts and finds
lhey are tolerant of Lucilla, but su ' est she is ac 'eadmg protest. march on Madrid, or
scruffy to get a husband and dr plantmg a bomb m the poltce post, or organizing
smanly. ess more a school boycott, she would have every reason to
' At the end of he accuse her of 'going native' . For Lucilla to 'go
r year or more Rache! pack t'
up her stuff and retums to
b <l s na 1ve is poss1ble, but more complicated. lf she
SO!ts out her data and k oar rt ge. There s_he marries one of the students or staff, if she aban-
th1ch to organize th p e central theme dons the PhD to train as an FE lecturer, if she
theory, and orga . .em. h smg anthropolog1cal decides to retrain as a laboratory technician her-
she write er around that self, or become a researcher or officer for the
s D thes1s. Once that is technicians' trade union, then she has gone

110 n with people
. . s0mc1imcs luiPJ'C who atiandon
1i-C lbi> 11talth scmng rse but it 1s
do1ni: fid<h> as a doctor or of
' . ....

nol e. . .. h and carcers look
settlll'c 1 nd Lucilla's ri.'SCarcl
fy as anrhro-
Rachc a h rd io e ass h
. . nJ not a .-11 bclong 10 t e
sociology and thhe
po vo.: . f Soe1al "" pubhS
,usociauon o , al Assoc1a11on. .
. menean Anthropolog1c " al
to thc Joumul of the Lucilla w1ll
. --" Amennin . ".
"'"' . . h sociolog1ca d
belong 10 thc. Bn!IS . o ical Association. an
and the Amcncan Socio! g Jua/italil'<' S1ud1es 111
blish in 5<1ciJ1/ogr and f neis cven tlarmares
-n.n ould be ,ne '
Educa1ion. ',,..y differcnl d1sc1p mes.
or locrs. bol theY thare '"e. and theorisls, and
-n..y use ditlerent con ." ach othcr' s work.
,.,. ad or c11e e . .
- no 10 re cate rh1s 1s nol
" sosepa
BccaUSC tbeir are ulf is""' due to cmpiri-
surprimg. Ho"c'.er., identily grounded in
cal ropic. but d1sc1pl will never read or
thcoreticMI d11lerenccs', of cducation ei rher
cite the anthropology 1980. 1990; Delamont
(Alkinson and Delamont,
and Atkinson. 19
). . fi her wc can
To illustrate thc d1flerences urt d . '
- ther ir of eihnographers stu ying
lrna:ne rhat Rache! Verinder slarts
aiongside a fellow studenl, franklin
Blakc who is passionarely comm111ed ro urban
When Rache! sets .ff for her
. . . .
.,.. Franklin packs h1s bags and
ician \1 -..- .
heads for Munich. using onc of four s1ra1eg1es to
manageable projecr. He could choose a
oeighbourhood. live in ir. and rrear 11 as an urban
villagc. lile Press (1979) in Seville. He could
choosc one sel of people, such as m1gran1s from
a particular place. and make rhem his focus as
Grillo ( 1985) did in Lyon, and Kenny (1960) d1d
in Madrid He could choose an instilution or
organization. such as a hospital or a facrory '. and
treat it as a microcosm of the c11y. Th1s 1s
frequcorl y done by urban anlhropologisls
m America. such as the conlriburors to lhe
collcctions edited by Messerschmidl ( 1982) and
Burawoy and bis colleagues (1991). Alter-
natively. Franklin could choose one caregory of
peoplc. sucb as members of a rrade un ion, or tour
guides, or pricsts, or practirioners of acupunc-
ture. or antique dealers, and focos on lhem
1 c.g. Sbechao, 1993, on Dublin inrellecluals ).
McKcvia's(l99la, 1991bJ work in San Giovanni
Rocondo focused on devorees of Padre Pio, and
McDooogh 11986) focused on elite families in
v Munich has migrants from Greece, ltaly,
ctnam, Turkey, ali the narions of the fonner
Yugoslavia. and Germans who hav
from areas or other cities . e lllovcd
Fr-.inklin rh.ereforc. choose au "
jecls for h1s PhD m Munich, before of
to use thc same range of meth<>ds th11g do
R h 1 . ora .
of rhem. as ac e uses m her fishill , . !ielecli0i
could evcn focus on Bavarian sepa g Village. fj
allel her G.alician regionalists. lo
conrcxts w11l be more varied in fteldv,Or\
depending on the projecr. McDono, b1g ciiy,
describes domg fieldwork ar the

familics iovitcd me inlo aoothcr <>
housc in !he anstocrut1c logcs of thc first ba ru.. "P<i
firsl performance l saw from this lcon). Thc:
Montserrat Caballc singing L 'Africai
""tagc "''
thcalrc. Thc magniliccncc of thaJ pe;;' n her honi.
lightcd thc dunlirics of my role as pan;c l'lllancc ltigti.

half attcnuvc to thc stagc and half an cr .
dramas nround me. cnlivc to lile
Compare lhat ficldwork with Bel .
( 1989: 275) Naplcs, m a d1stric1 he call s
del Re, not at all 1 ike thc opera
Barcelona: se 10
thc district was no1orious in Naplcs as a dan
zonc. a den of thicvcs, roughnccks and prosr gcroos
disproportionatc numbcr of thc i nhabitants e nutcs .. a
living collccting cardboard and junk. mcd lhcir
Lel us assume that Franklin seules on stud
. k Ytng
e tens1ons among gueslwor ers from the fo
. dh . rrner
Yugos av1a, an ow pre111ously shared idenri-
fiers such as Serbo-Croat are unravelling since
1989, a study to parallel Danforth's (1995 2000
on Greeks and Macedonians in
We can contrast Franklin with a
Garrett Monmouth, doing an ethnography in
Boarbridge itself. He could have decided lo focus
on one neighbourhood, or one ser of people, or
one institution or organization. As Boarbridge is
a historie city, Garren might study the 1ouris1
industry, or museums, or heritage (Dicks, 2000).
lf he were more interested in generic urban issues
he could focus on perhaps the young homeless
(Hall, 2003), bodybuilders using gyms
(Monaghan, 1999) or bouncers on rhe doors of
clubs and pubs. Howevcr, Jet us imagine he has
decided 10 focus on refugees from rhe wars in
Yugoslavia, and also discovers rhe disi nregration
of rhe old 'Yugoslavian' identity and the Serbo-
Croat language.
The contras! between Franklin's anrhropology
and Garrett's sociology is jusi as srark as
between Rachel and Lucilla. Franklin is away
abroad working in two orher languagcs, Gennan
' s b' and
and Serbo-Croat ( or rather er 1an .
Croarian). He will not sce his supervisor for nine
1 or c-ma1ls. As
months, merely exchangmg etters
Southersham sa1d 10 us: ' I don' r feel not 211
.ue o k ' proc d
t11" fe!,. should be mgbeone skwnose into a 1 ec in a strai ht r
l ''.': fieldwork : . . it can aw ard, embar- OOps, bccaUse cach l tne, but in a series of
d annoymg for a .research student' upon, and evcn P eads the .researcher to
anDr [)nlmmock of Kingford said, ' The example, if an observat'revisir, carhcr steps. for
: _
1arlY Ot
be independent enough to fonn tncluded onc posrd ion ID biochcmistry lab
, 1.. tias ; S d 1 rcsearcher that !he OC!oral fellow lclling the
:COJel uJgernent' . tu ents to d us, 'Yourc senior
:"'ir "".'edJ
visit the department when you're in an affair with anorh pro essor was having
aJIO" secause you re supposed to be in the allocared her the pos1doc1oral fellow and
(Jeld lah Wyston, Southersham). Franklin up research issues 'H pr?Jecrs, thar would open

( 9eu1 a great deal of data and focus on his cated?', . How ". proJects gel allo-
" llCC 'What literature is th gossip ID the lab work?',
, ill '. 1 heme once _'home' in Boarbridge. and so on. Such ere on womcn in science?',
t/l'''rc1111 see his supervisor regularly throughout but a researcher quesuons m1gh1 be dead cnds,
;ork. and will be told repeatedly by his fieldnotes and need to re-read ali the
ti!<' 11el r
focUS on one aspect oflhe rcfugees in ture search, lan
te.w lranscnpts, .do a li1era-
;.i1plC' and not drift off .target. Because they fieldwork h ratse aU thrce 1op1cs in futurc
done PhDs on Serb1ans and/or Croalians
raise those . per aps rev1511 any past fieldsitcs
t.I'"bO the twO rnen mighl altend the same semi- Kevles's

That example comes from
n nferences, and even compare findings, Balt' istoncal reconstrucrion of the
f'llS_or is likely to go to the same meetings as case. lf .he had lcamed of such an
b<JI and Garrelt to the same ones as Lucilla. have

domg an ethnography he could

Ra.:h.I. rher clear difference between Rachel and
up m other labs, other research
. as and Lucilla and but because ir carne up in a history he
ffllO s sociolog1sts w1ll have been their pre- a opportunity to pursue the lopic further as
Garn:ll k rraining, especially their exposure to an et nographer would do. Because ethnography
ldwor . 1 . . h UK parreoceeds. in loops, the foreshadowed problems
' ods rraining. Socio og1sts m t e have rev1S1ted, th
roelh uch more enthusiastic about compulsory e access negotialions revea! key
,ecn. rn
n research methods, including qualita- d:atures of the selling used when analysing rhe
h h
. ta, the analys1s retums the scholar to the field-
,.e rechniques, rhan nlls ant ropo og1sts notes, and so on ad infinitum.
'" As Dr Trevithick of Southersham told us: . During fieldwork it is vital
sample lhe set-
observation is not, 1 would say, a tmg m a systematic way. A good study focuses
_ arch method wh1ch can be taught m the class- on lypes of participan!, includes obser-
and then applied in the field .... It's sorne- made at.all rimes ofthe day (and, perhaps
g you can only leam by doing it.' Dr Fustian the mght), and m all the possible locations.
concurred: this business not always possible for a researcher
watch the
think is largely spunous. 1t ts somethmg that opposite sex, people of very different ages, or
:, 'ieaml by the experience of doing it. lt's rather push mto all the possible se11ings, but it is neces-
like ieaching music. Y ou cannot teach people sary .to plan to observe systematically wherever
how 10 play without a piano. lt's only by playing poss1ble. In a fishing village the researcher
they can learn, and 1 rhink fieldwork is like that.' should not only observe fi shing, but also net
All four fictional characters could struggle mending, the sales of the catch, boat repair,
with the issues raised by the 'rhetorical tum' and women's everyday lives, the days ofmen too old
by postmodemism. In the past fifteen years both to go out to sea any more, and rhe experiences of
anthropology and sociology have been through children. Observations should not only encom-
some lurmoil about the ways in which data are pass the sea, but also the church, the vegetable
analysed and texts written, but the debates are garden, the school and the fish market. Thinking
contained within each discipline. through all the possible places to observe, the
In rhe next section the general lessons that ali times to observe, the people to watch, and dis-
four would have leamed from their fieldwork are covering whether or not it is possible and pro-
distilled inro sorne general precepts. ductive to do so, is a central task of good
fieldwork (Spradley, 1979).
' ;,\hnography is hard work: physically, emotion-
y and mentally exhausting. The research does
The beginning, the middle and the end of
fieldwork can ali be problematic. Autobio-
graphical accounts by anthropologists and
sociologists suggest many researchers expen-
ence culture shock when conducting their
fieldwork this is rare when researchcrs
gather data by post while among
. rhe mcthods lite111ture
colleagu..-s. Much. ol he initial culture shock
aJso rocuses on usrng .t 1 1 fruirful time for
. parucu ar Y b
1Gcer. 19'M) as
. Once accepted Y
1 data ha to
ins1ghtlu . te rcscarchers ve
,ctors at a fieldwork : ' abandoning the
... omg nanve. .
uard aga1nsl g . d adopting tbc v1ews
........ pecnve an
rcsarc"'r r.- n. ng Sorne researchers
of the actors in th.e .eld cven when no
or data. are bcingbcgained
. ficlds1le havc come
bccause ac1ors in u"'
friends and the fieldwork comfortable.. b th
.. ' ork in an unfamiliar cul1ure is o
easier than fieldwork in one's own
amT socieiy. In an unfamiliar every-
'% strange, and so it is unhkely that the
rcscarcber will forgel to convey thal stran.geness.
In conuasl, researchers studying the1r own
socieiy often fail lo report, or 10 make anthropo-
logically strange, many a.-peclS of 1he se.tung. So
the French researcher who goes to hve a
Brazilian fal't'la will have a more fnghtenmg,
bewildcring and confusing cxpenem:c, the
data will be unfamiliar 10 her readcrs m fomcc,
and even exotic. The same researcher studymg
everyday life in Fnmce is likely 10 feel safe,
clear-minded and cohercnt, but 10 have 10 work
very har<l 10 produce an "in1eres1ing' account of
thc fieldsile, unless. of course, she becomcs
embroilcd in witchcraft (Favrc1-Saada, 1980).
One ofthe biggest problcms is that infonnants
oftcn want to hdp researchers. by showing and
telling what they lhink investigators wanl to sec
and bear. Equally, infonnanlS may systemati-
cally hide tbings. and lell lics, lo pro1ect them-
selves. their sccrelS or their privacy. Researchers
who prefer fieldwork to the quicker method of
interviewing hope 10 get beyond the infonnants'
impression management, even though sometimes
tbey discover 1ha1 their informanls ini1ially
believcd them to be spies, tax collectors or loose
women (Kenna, 1992).
Foreshodowed problem(s)
Central to good ethnography is an intellectually
thoughrful set of foreshadowed problems: ideas
thal will gu1dc the access nego1ia1ions, 1he initial
fieldwork. the early writing of 1he ou1-of-the-
field dwy. These come from reading, from
colleagues and mentors, from lhe core of 1he dis-
c1phoc. The elhnography is only as good as the
the rcsearcher dcploys. At lhe time of wril-
am planmng an ethnogrdphy of opera
Europe. forcshadowed
who pay !:rr'pdle, ideas people
use on opera m Praguc
and Budapest will also anead
will prefer "traditional' prod in lh
uction e lH<
sic core reperto1re works a d Valuci. '"
tivcly low seat priecs. Tha; is nth c1Q,\.
example, Opera North ey also &o i:cla.
fer the Hebrew slaves in Nahu n leeds 'f0r
illustrations from a Ladybird to l0ok
ralher than Jews in Daehau, wa k Of lhe s'kt
rdther than Der Ferne Klung nt .' sec 1i ble
believe that 1he two London
or Die l'uge/
Opera House (ROH) and houses, Rolld
(ENO), cost too much money Na1
London. All these ideas gleaned' asfi do hotels ra
1 h
. d ' rom in
p e, t c correspon ence pages f h or e11a
. dhb Oteo llJ.
azmcs an t e rochures of the rna .
companies, could be blown out ;i>ecialist to g
the first period of fieldwork Toh lhe Water :
1 d
.d . . . at w y
sp en 1 : 11 1s marvellous when th fi ould be
problems tum oul to have been we oreshadowCd
This is one difTerence betwee rong.
. d .. d n leam
an an m 1v1 ual projcct. In a
. eam cfli .
nccessary to 1scuss the foreshad on 11 is
oweJ p b
and share them. The main diffcrcn _ ro lems.
lcam ethnographies 1hat ended ce betwecn
. h up w1th a . .
pro1ec1, suc as Strauss et al. (19
) Join1
that produce an unintegraled colle .' and lhose
vidual accounts (e.g. Stake and of mdi-
the pooling of the hypotheses before
78 is
after the fieldwork. The ORACLE p ' . unng and
roJect on
mary to secondary transfer (Del Pn-
. 1 196) 1 . arnont and
a Ion, n mvo ved coordmatin , the
work of seven observers most of the g ficld-
' m untra1n d
In Galton and Delamont ( 1985) we discuss d e.
as follows: e th1s
Thc limctablc of lhe cthnographic rcscarch allowcd us
to use thc s1udy oflhc 9- 13 schools. in Scpicmbcr
a p1lot study for 1978, whcn the pupils lransfcrml
mto thc 12-.1 l! and 11 - 14 schools. Thus by 197X wc had
a fistful of ideas from lhe 1977 study which wc could
use as forcshadowcd problcms' or scnsilizing con-
ecpts' in 1978. Sara Dclamont and Mauricc Gallon
wcrc involved in bolh ycars, and othcrs only workcd in
onc ycar. but sorne of thc 1977 lcssons wcrc earricd
forward 10 l 97H.
This was an unusual feature of a school ethno-
1:.rraphy. We had a chance to think for a vear
between the Ashburton phase of the rcsearch and
the Bridgehamplon and Coalthorpe phase. Our
account continues:
Wc ncvcr bclicvcd that cthnographcrs cnlcr 1hc ficld
opcn-mindcd. In 1hc 1977 study ofthe 1wo 9- 13 schools
we had a short list of foreshadowcd problems' dcrivcd
from our rcading ofo1hcr school s1udics. Thcsc wcrc of
lwo kinds: sorne vaguely ' lhcorc1ical' ideas wc had
dcrived from thc litcra1urc, and sorne 'common scnsc'
ideas derived more from our membcrs' knowlcdgc.
Among lhc more 'lhcorclical' ideas wc wcrc in1crcstcd
_ _ aasil Bcrns1cin's (1.971. 1974) ideas

nd fnlmtni: and v1s1blc and invisible pcd. bettcred (se 111
uon 1 I bclr th e also A '
.;iCA bCllinnini:s o a mg, and the notion of e lmpona h,tnson Cl
'"' ahC M oncrc1 1 and A nce of fioh a 2003 G
uaicgics. ore e .e y. wc askcd all tkinson 1995" ing familiarit . ivcn
..,,og s iook cardully at pup1ls' 'adjustmcnt' to encounter 'h ; Delamont

"' JO . IS t e be t uv2) lh
-1'"' hools. sibhng compansons, statTroom dis- un1arniliar and s time lo sec th e 1n11i111
:i,:,r bullying and lhe schoo1s responses vantage point fon:e onese1r 10 5
e &cnuincly
.. ioO' o .
rnparc 1Ju.-ory' and "prac1icc in SUch made strang rom V.h1ch the for lhc
,,.,. od 10 e .
. e. - .. 11ar can L .
,iL ' culum balance. pup1 groupmgs, alloca1ion ""
cUrfl F
>::P a> JO c1asscs and so on. or example, in Local
wc had found lhat allocation of childrcn to
\UaJi.l"I) GuY Manncring School was more eloscly

ahC prirnary school anended than ability or

i<lj" rtS and so we asked lhe obscrvcrs in Local
n:pO .
i..:..i> riocs B and C lo exammc band alloca1ion. elass
wthO. and 50 forth.

. .
fairly typical list of foreshadowed
.,.., JS 1
' sorne are theorettca ata high leve! of
(visible pedagogy), sorne are
range concepts ( copmg strategy ), so me
1111Jdle- rete issues (how are new children alio-
li' The big problem with ali tearn
,-1ed h is that each observer is bound to have
ea re h
re> .
agenda, and t ey may not ali be equa\ly
11i:r for the researcher herself, or in the field-
ic r

the out-of-the-field diary and analytic
1es o
As we commented on the ORACLE pro-
rnemo .
. . How far the observers took any notice of
"foreshadowed" problems is, in retrospect,
uoclear - because of the diverse nature of the
Access ond initial encounters
Havi ng done the reading and thinking to develop
foreshadowed problems, the good ethnographer
negoliates access to one or more fieldsites, making
careful notes of ali the interactions. Access can be
by leners and fonnal interviews if the fieldsite is a
fonnal organization or a prvate space such as a
farnily. lf the fieldsite is a public place, then
access may be a process of hanging out and infor-
mal chats. There are many autobiographical
accounts of access negotiations ( see Delamont,
2002: ch. by sociologists and anthropologists,
and the 1op1c is covered in ali the textbooks. There
are lhree golden rules. First, every aspect of the
processes. needs to be meticulously recorded,
because vital features of the setting are made vis-
1bl d .
e unng the access stages. Second, failed
access attempts are 'data', just as successful ones
Th1rd, lhe harder it is to gain access, the more
ely. the work will be rewarding once 'inside'
and vice ve . ti .
lead very o ten decept1vely easy access
to barner-strewn fieldwork.
encGecr (1964) wrote the classic paper on initial
ounters a d .
n lts ms1ghts have not been
Data co//ection
The biggest problem nov
for ethnographic find when prcparing
books are no1 ex. 1 . is tlat the melhods
ob P icu enough bo
how to observe a d a u1 what lo
lt is very hard to d nbewhat to Wrile down.
ob escn m w ds h
serve. Wolcott (1981) h or ow to
lent atternpt comparin as.produccd an excel-
anthropological mcthods in his
hall) and his educa1ional m . an Afncan bccr
Essentially an ethnograph m the USA.
she can, writes lhe rnost er o. serves everything
can takes time t detailcd fieldnotes she
uro'n them 15 expand, elaborate and reflcc1
time and/or as soon as
observed to being
why and swee re omg and
pictures or
Geertz's . . is to produce, in
. . (1973) class1c forrnula1ion a lhick
of the sening and the in it suf-
nch to enable a reader to live i; that
settmg unwittingly viola1ing its basic
tenets. So if it is absolutely forbidden for women
to . set on fishing boats, or for Turkish
ch1ldren m Munich (Yalcun-Heckmann, 1994) lo
have fireworks on New Year's Eve, that should
be crystal-clear from the evenlual publications
which will have been drawn from lhe observa:
tions and interrogations.
The most important thing researchers have to do
is record what they see, usually in fieldnotes but
sometimes on tape or film, because anything not
recorded is lost. Once recorded, data are safe,
although the real work of the research comes
with analysing data, interpreting them, and wril-
ing them up into accounts for a wider readership.
Fieldwork that is never wrinen up is wasted.
Reading the autobiographical accounts of both
sociologists and anthropologists, it is clear that
many ethnographers keep fieldnotes and other
kinds of more reflexive records such asan 'out-
of-the-field diary' in which theoretical ideas can
be rehearsed. In the past decade, scholars have
been more prepared to discuss and reflect on how

21 . Sanjek. 1990;
be. w'fltten .
int in
fieldnOlti are. There
Emerson et aL. and thelTI nited. 1 f
()bser. ing_ th: s.:ribbled notes in leaV-
or in leavm!l the.-C is no taken
. . aJC reco<I""' rraphs are
intcl"o'ICW . bc:d lf photog d 1 1c1led
the unuanscn . ted an a
ing m t be developed. _pnn 1 me) Filrn or
theY mus er 25. th1s vo u . made
tcf. Pink. Chapt have a commcntary
vidcO. 1ikew1se. rnust fresh (cf. Pink, ib1d.). In
while rhe images are rk the researcher . may
tieldwo .' roof boxes; in ali
anr.u..,,,- "' rnute-p d
need to_ store data create duplicates an
kinds. it is sens1bl ctically poss1ble. The
baCk-ups as soon _as

the mosl vital form
importance of wnung.
red in Delamonl
of record-keepmg. is exp o
2002: Chs 4, 8 and 12).
h is the constan! and tiring
Cenual to e1hnog!11P Y fl . iy is thc most
ess of reflecling. Re ex1v1 d of
proc t characteristic of lieldwork, an
Hammersley and Atkinson
die concept thoroughly. Reflex1v1ty ti is
the wa ihat qualitative researchers stnve or
reliabiifl}' and validily. and the developmenl an_d
. . fon-'s reflexive skills and empath1es IS
trammg o - 1 Th
the keystone of whal Coffey ( 1999) cal s . e
EJJinographic Sel/ Constan! exercise of reflex1v-
ity should inform ali the stages from the fore-
shadowed problems through the data collecuon
1o the evenrual wriling up (Elhs and Bochner,
1996). One vital stage of the fieldwork, where
reflexivil}' needs to be exercised, is the exit from
the fieldsite, which is too often neglected.
Many methods books spend thousands _of
words oo access and initial encounters, wh1le
ignoring leaving. Y et the disengagement from the
field is jusi as importan! as the entry and engage-
menL Fine ( J 983 ), Altheide ( 1980), Maines et al.
(1980). Wulff (2000} and Delamont (2002) ali
address leaving. A good basic principie is that
once the fieldsite feels like home it is time to
leave: fieldwork should be uncomfortable. Once
it is feeling familiar, it is time ro move on.
Thc analytic strategies available to ethnogra-
phers have not changed in principie for a century
IStrauss, 1987). However, lhe development of
software packages lhat handle text has changed
the pracllces of and made ir much more
a matter of pubhc d1scussion. Useful ways into
the literature on software packau
. W . oes and
are reporte m e1tzman and . Ptacr
fielding (2001) and Fielding a
cotfey and Atkinson ( 1996,

episternology of the new technolo}. ui!:
and Taylor (2003) are entirely a,
with severa! chapters on the anal . to Oitlv.:
. A
uve data. greater self-consci qUalit..
analysis is incxtricably linked

writing cthnography. e debates

Thc ways in which ethnographic data
have been controversia! for the Past fiftarc Written
and the issu_cs are complicated by th
e Years,
stmodenusrn. One of thc ma

&uc f0r
ated w1th poslrnodem standpoinrs e lSSOcj.
so-called 'crisis ofrepresentation' th oncerns lhe
. atwas
cially promment among social d espe.
anthropol.ogists in the l 980s, cu1tura1
other social sc1ences too in the subsc pennealcd
. d . . quenr ye
Th1s suppose cns1s threatencd the tak ars.
granted found_ations of social inquiry.
of representatlon was centred on the a ro cnsis
modes of cultural representation or repp Pnate
. 1 d . .d construc
11on. t was, an 1s, w1 ely recognizcd that , -
ethnography' has for many decades referre the
both the conduct of fieldwork in all its d
and the written product of that research aspehc1s,
the rnonograp . The scholar is thus rccognzab
engaged in a double process of
the field. First, she or he is enuaged
n . wi
. . o apro-
senes of transact1ons and exploraiions
w1th mfonnants. In and _of themselves, these
engagements are far from mnocent. The cultu
and social realities reported in the course
work are dependent on the active explora1ions
and the joint negotiati?ns, tha1 the investigato;
undertakes m con1uncllon w1th her or his hos1s
and infonnants. Secondly, there are further acls
of interpretation when the scholar acts as aulhor.
The discoveries of disciplines like sociology and
anthropolo,,'Y are not the revelations of an inde-
pendent social reality, but are jic1io11s - in lhe
sense that they are created and crafted products.
This general perspective was articulated and
widely publicized in Wriling Cu/Jure (Clifford
and Marcus, 1986). A number of authors
explored the textual conventions of cultural
anthropolo,,'Y, and through their textual explo-
rations raised more profound questions concem-
ing the ethnographic project. Their reflections
included the recognition that cthnographic repre-
sentation is grounded in conventional modes of
representation. These include texlual devices and
soeiated wllh . genres of fiction, as e
i<,.J(ls as les of non-ficuon _tex.t, such travel ONCLUSION
S s1Y
rd 1988; Atkmson, 1990 199l)
' (C u fi .
i11i; rns were not con med to thc purely
cooce f th o ra h.

r s cts o e n g P 1c monographs,
also focuscd the direct rela-
1 ,
,ver. '-"tween the uu1hur1ty of the ethno-
ll-1 . "" h h' f
and the aul urs 1p o that selfsame
n' 1ex .
,ppl1' nventional ethnograph1c monograph
was a

ethnographer was an mv1stble but
' d rnplied narrator. The social world is

d reported from the single, dominan!
,-.cye . or the ethnographic author, who is
, cuve . lf 1 h
,.!Spe rn the tex.t 1tse . n ot er words, the
1- d frO h'
(i1dC. fthe ethnograp 1c enterpnse - an espe-
;isbihl}' ring characteristic of anthropology for
1311Y - was held up to question.
f113PY . of the ethno,,>raphy - as opposed to 1ts
interpretation al the meta-level of
;obsequenve ethnology and anthropological
arall .
co!ll had rernained relat1vely stable. The cri-
' illt1 in many ways seemed to
more profound challenge than the com-
offer d goings of fashionable theories and
1ogs an
seemed to strike al the very legitimacy
ethnographic mode of repre-
of the_con not only in anthropology (Wolcott,
0 Wolf, J 992).
Tl;e textual in qualitative research has_had
. oductive s1de. 11 has led to a self-consc1ous
11S pr
auempt on the of sorne authors to dei;>loy and
d elop a vanety of textual convent1ons, to
the taken-for-granted boundaries
genres, and thus _10 match literary styles
analytic interests. R1chardson ( 1994), for
instance, makes a case for writing as a mode of
analysis in its own right. There are, metaphori-
cally speaking, two kinds of response to the
crisis of representation' and its associated ideas.
The pessimistic view might lead one to regard
1he ethnographic enterprise as ali but impossible.
One might lapse into silence. The crisis could
easily result in an intellectualized fonn of
writer's block. The more optimistic response
would be to recognize literary and rhetorical
conventions for what they are, and resolve to use
and explore them creatively. In practice many
conlemporary scholars have taken the optimistic
palh. Jf one starts from the recognition that there
is no such thing as a perfectly innocent or trans-
parent mode of representation, then it is possible
lo explore the possibilities of written tex.t - and
01her representations - in a creative way. One
can use them to construct particular kinds of
analysis, and to evoke particular kinds of
response in one's audience.
Thc ch
aptcr started . . .
stressed that lhe come in . ro1hng smoke, and
end in that sa st is never ovcr. lt mua1
. me smokc Th fi 1 .
ours. Ethno : e 1c d 1s nevcr
mg and f;asc . graphic research is cxhaust-
matmg and t
be allowed into oth
1 15
a great privilege to
D . . cr people's . 1 rlds
espite ex.aggerated
. socia wo .
are outmoded, and e aims that classic methods
there is plenty of clas:,ic textual forms extinct,
be done The scsope . or proper ethnography to
. re are pan1sh Id'
ers and e . . so 1crs, huntcr gather-
smoke for de_rectives s1ill waiting in the
their worlds . hve among lhem and cap1ure
usmg ethnographic methods.
Rosemary Janes word processed this paper for
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