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Anthony Kwame Harrison

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780199371785

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780199371785.001.0001

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Introduction to Ethnography

Introduction to Ethnography

(p.1) 1 Introduction to Ethnography

Anthony Kwame Harrison

Oxford University Press

This introductory chapter introduces ethnography as a distinct research and writing tradition. The author begins by historically contextualizing ethnography’s professionalization within the fields of anthropology and sociology. While highlighting the formidable influences of, for example, Bronislaw Malinowski and the Chicago school, the author complicates existing understandings by bringing significant, but less-recognized, influences and contributions to light. The chapter next outlines three principal research methods that most ethnographers utilize—namely, participant-observation, fieldnote writing, and ethnographic interviewing. The discussion then shifts from method to methodology to explain the primary qualities that separate ethnography from other forms of participant-observation-oriented research. This includes introducing a research disposition called ethnographic comportment, which serves as a standard for gauging ethnography throughout the remainder of the book. The author presents ethnographic comportment as reflecting both ethnographers’ awarenesses of and their accountabilities to the research tradition in which they participate.

Keywords:   anthropology, Chicago school, ethnographic comportment, fieldnotes, interviewing, Malinowski, methodology, participant-observation

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