It may be messy and imperfect

What is it and why do we need canadagooseonlineshop it

Ethnography Canada Goose online What is it and why do we need it?

just want a holiday, don you? just want a holiday, don you? This is the not uncommon response from the uninitiated when canada goose one is embarking on 2018 canada goose outlet a faraway ethnography canada goose black friday sale project. It was in any event Canada Goose Jackets what a university employee asked me as I was setting off to buy canada goose jacket conduct research on maritime migration into southern Europe with cheap Canada Goose first stop being, erm, the Spanish Canary canada goose outlet toronto factory Islands.

Aside from my unfortunate choice of initial destination, those who compare ethnography to a spot of vacationing do have a point: ethnographers in action can sometimes look distinctly like layabouts with too much time on their hands. Canada Goose sale You might spot them on a street corner, smoking with a bunch of ne or pin striped investment bankers, or catch them lazing canada goose deals about in a teahouse, a pub or a palm fronded village. But as the ethnographers smoke their fags or sip their tea (or beer), what you don see is the mental gymnastics our web page as they figure out how to enter the world of a street con artist, a body builder or a stock broker. As one anthropologist once told a class of aspiring ethnographers, it all rather like being a teenager again: spending time trying to fit in and befriend perfect strangers.

Still, it can be good fun. Try it for yourself a few minutes during your daily commute will do. Start off by observing other commuters stream past. How do they interact with each other, with the gates and the workers, Canada Goose Coats On Sale and how can you tell them apart? Who is relaxed, who is stressed out, who glances anxiously about? Then join them in the rush: feel and sense what it like to be a commuter the squash, the pushing, the rank canada goose clearance sale armpits, the blinking smartphones and the freesheets held up as shields against intruding humanity. Observe it all. Sense it all. Then, finally, befriend those perfect strangers. Repeat next day. And the day after that. A year of this and you might be done and Canada Goose Online dusted.

Besides such observation most of what ethnographers do is writing, writing, writing. Not just finished books or articles, but notes scrawled into notebooks or typed on to a laptop, as I did when travelling the Euro African borderlands on a quest to understand the interlocked worlds of undocumented migration and border controls. After a day volunteering in the migrant camp of Ceuta, canada goose outlet store locations a tiny Spanish enclave in North Africa interpreting for the camp workers, answering migrants anxious questions, hanging about being generally useless I rush home to type furiously on my wobbly Eee PC. As I travelled along clandestine African trails, I scrawled notes at the back of the bumpy four wheel drives of Senegalese border police; and as I crossed the tall border fences surrounding Ceuta, the Spanish border guard accompanying me advised that I hide my notepad to avoid rousing suspicion among his Moroccan colleagues. It didn help much: next time I showed up a soldier waved his canada goose coats gun at me, but no matter. Weaving between camp life, border fences and surly soldiers was all in a day work much canadian goose jacket as other ethnographers spend their time crouching among farmworkers in the fields, sneaking into the secret world of Wall Street or learning the art of sorcery canada goose store on the edge of the Sahara.

It may be messy and imperfect, yet it opens up worlds that will otherwise remain locked buy canada goose jacket cheap to outsiders.

Ethnography, then, is straying out of our comfort zone in order to understand another social world. It is a messy, fuzzy, tough and accident prone line of business, as the young sociologist Alice Goffman realised when critics started tearing into her bestselling On the Run, a riveting canada goose coats on sale ethnography about the causes and effects of constant police crackdowns in a poor black American neighbourhood. One journalist, frustrated with how Goffman had anonymised her data and so made her text unverifiable hit out at her methods, calling ethnography uncomfortable hybrid of impressionistic data gathering, soft Canada Goose Outlet focus journalism with even a dash of creative writing their more valid concerns, some such critics of Canada Goose Parka Goffman book were trying to read it as a piece of reportage that principally pointed a finger of blame. But ethnography is not a journalistic expos Rather than dig for killer facts, good ethnographers aim to uncover something deeper about how a society or subculture works and it does so by changing perspective to that of the insider.

This understanding cannot come about through a social survey or a piece of investigative reporting alone. We have to stick around and listen, observe and participate, one awkward step at a time. It may be messy and imperfect, yet it opens up worlds that will otherwise remain locked to outsiders.

Ethnography is research on the slow boil something that getting harder to justify at a time when our public debate increasingly favours the quick flash in the pan. Yet amid calls for more media soundbites, ready made research metrics and pre cooked policy this is precisely why we need it more than ever.

The British Sociological canada goose clearance Association canada goose replica and Thinking Allowed Ethnography Awards

Explore the 2016 shortlist Discover more about the six publications that make up the shortlist for the 2016 BSA and Thinking Allowed Ethnography Awards. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read about our approach to external linking.

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