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.
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