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The Handbook of Political, Social, and Economic Transformation$
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Wolfgang Merkel, Raj Kollmorgen, and Hans-Jürgen Wagener

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780198829911

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198829911.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 24 June 2021

Ethnographic Methods

Ethnographic Methods

Chapter:
(p.201) Chapter 20 Ethnographic Methods
Source:
The Handbook of Political, Social, and Economic Transformation
Author(s):

Tatjana Thelen

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780198829911.003.0020

This chapter describes the impact of ethnographic methods on the study of transformation. Ethnographic methods comprise a bundle of tools, the most important of which remains participant observation. In general, ethnographic methods aim at insights into processes of meaning making by actors in everyday life. They focus on the plurality of experiences within processes of change and ambivalences in specific contexts, as well as on historical depth. The openness of ethnographic research design allows for unexpected results and critical questioning of taken-for-granted theoretical concepts. The chapter starts with a short overview of the historical development of ethnographic methods in relation to shifting paradigms of transformation. Examples of ethnographic research of (post-)socialist transformations substantiate the potential (and pitfalls) of ethnographic methods. One important insight is that the great diversity of socialist as well as post-socialist transformations do not follow a modernization blueprint, demonstrating the potential of ethnography in generating innovative theoretical approaches.

Keywords:   ethnography, (post-)socialisms, diversity, anthropology, sociology, theory, everyday life, experiences, context-sensitivity, meaning making

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