I was reading recently in Weiss’ book Learning From Strangers, and was struck by one simple passage. It stated that the goal of any research, ethnography included, was to answer a question - to provide some information that wasn’t previously known. I think ethnography is different.
Anthropologists have developed the habit of delivering the final ethnography to the group under study, and gathering their reactions as a sort of postscript. When I have done this, I have encountered a reaction that I think many ethnographers have: the study participants all say ‘Duh! We knew that!’
In the context of ethnography I consider this the mark of success, not of failure. Here’s why >> continue