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For Ethnography

For Ethnography

December 2014 | 232 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd

"This text is something of a masterclass in its own right. Few are as well placed to comment on the debates surrounding ethnography – debates which the author had been instrumental in shaping – and to offer a clear and authoritative call-to-arms to future, aspirant ethnographers. It is a passionate but realistic manifesto for those wishing to undertake the craft of ethnography and to do it well. All who read it will benefit."
- Sam Hillyard, Durham University

This major book from one of the world’s foremost authorities recaptures the classic inspirations of ethnographic fieldwork in sociology and anthropology, reflecting on decades of methodological development and empirical research. It is part manifesto, part guidance on the appropriate focus of the ethnographic gaze.

Throughout Atkinson insists that ethnographic research must be faithful to the intrinsic and complex organization of everyday life. An attempt to rescue ethnography from contemporary ‘qualitative’ research, the book is a corrective to the corrosive effects of postmodernism on the analysis of social organization and social action. Atkinson affirms the value of fieldwork, while incorporating contemporary perspectives on social analysis.

Paul Atkinson is Distinguished Research Professor of Sociology at Cardiff University, where he is also Associate Director of the ESRC Centre for Economic and Social Aspects of Genomics.

The Perspectives of Ethnography
Fieldwork Commitments
Analytic Perspectives
Interaction and the Ceremonial Order
Accounts and Narratives
Aesthetics, Artefacts and Techniques
Structuring Forms
The Ethics of Ethnography

Whilst not a core text, this book is one of the key recommended texts for the ethnography component of the module.

Dr Joanne Turnbull
Faculty of Health Sciences, Southampton University
June 30, 2015

Atkinson once again provides us with a superb discussion of ethnography and ethnographic practice. The book draws on many years of research and teaching experience, to explore questions of epistemology, ontology and the ethnographic 'commitment'. While this may prove a challenging read for those new to social research, nevertheless, it covers all of the issues central to the topic from theory and practice through to the difficult issue of research ethics.

Dr Fiona Harris
School of Health Sciences, Stirling University
June 22, 2015

A very useful guide to ethnography which provides up to date and step by step detail for anyone starting out in this field

Ms Karen Hillison
Department of Social Work, Hull University
June 1, 2015

The book provides insights on ethnography as an approach and the actual field work as well as the writing. The book is written in a very accessible language and thus provides a good resource for researchers - from the novice, to the experienced ethnographers.

Dr Martha Chinouya
Division of Public Health, Liverpool University
April 19, 2015

The best book on ethnography for many years. It strips out the nonsense and offers a great overview.

Professor Jonathan Parker
Society and Social Welfare, Bournemouth University
April 17, 2015

a very readable text from one of the key authors within the Ethnography field. I have used it within my own research and will recommend it for our masters students

Ms Fiona Cole
Rehabilitation and Social Work , University of Cumbria
April 17, 2015

Fantastic resource

Dr E Sidorenko
Education and Community Studies, Greenwich University
April 16, 2015

This is a timely and convincing appeal addressed to ethnographers and scientists using qualitative methods generally. The author makes the case for a certain type of approach to ethnography as an abductive study not of individuals but of the social order. As such, it involves not only extended participant observation, but also a degree of reflection and theorisation on the underlying cultural values, knowledge, representations and beliefs which collectively shape social behaviour. Paul Atkinson refers to and introduces a range of influential thinkers, approaches and concepts from the field, which will help guide students and researchers in making sense of their own ethnographic studies. An important book which takes a step back from some current research trends, leading us to ask essential questions about how and why we conduct various forms of qualitative research.

Dr Alex Frame
UFR Langues & communication, University of Bourgogne
April 8, 2015

Excellent book outlining the nature of ethnographic research. Highly recommended for anybody undertaking ethnographic studies/social sciences. A valuable text for both undergraduate/ postgraduate students and academics wishing to engage in and with ethnographic studies as the book engages the reader in thinking through the range of questions that are suitable for an ethnographic approach.

Mrs Sharon Colilles
Carnegie Faculty of Sports & Education, Leeds Beckett University
March 21, 2015

This is a wonderful text. It is both contemporary in terms of social analysis perspectives however there is a real emphasis on the importance of fieldwork. An excellent text

Ms Therese Alison Lewis
Faculty of Health, Social Work & Educ, Northumbria University
April 12, 2016