Volume 6, No. 3, Art. 28 – September 2005

Fuzzy Fields. Multi-Sited Ethnography in Sociological Research

Eva Nadai & Christoph Maeder

Abstract: Doing participating observation in the "field" is an indispensable characteristic of ethnography. Yet, the problems of constructing a field for ethnographic research attract surprisingly little attention in textbooks and research reports. Sociological ethnography does hardly ever aim at giving holistic representations of clearly bounded (small) groups. It rather focuses on certain theoretically defined aspects of a given culture. Therefore, defining and delineating a field becomes a crucial step in an empirical study. In our article we propose a concept of the field as social world(s) constituted by a set of actors focused on a common concern. With the example of our ongoing research project on exclusion and integration in welfare and economy we argue for a multi-sited approach, which traces its inherently fragmented and multiply situated research object across social worlds. We discuss the problems arising from such a strategy and discuss the function of the field in theory driven sociological ethnography. We contend that multi-sited ethnography is particularly suited for building empirically grounded sociological theories.

Key words: methodology, sociological ethnography, fieldwork

Table of Contents

1. Introduction

2. Theoretical Framework: The Entrepreneurial Self as a Mode of Governmentality

3. A Multi-Sited Ethnography Approach to a Theoretical Question

4. Conclusions: Risks and Gains of Multi-Sited Research With the Concept of the Fuzzy Fields

Notes

References

Authors

Citation

 

1. Introduction

Ethnography in the classical anthropological tradition has long aimed at giving holistic representations of more or less clearly bounded, fairly small groups. This program has been criticized and redirected from different angles with the best-known strand of the debate pertaining to the so-called "crisis of representation" (see for instance CLIFFORD & MARCUS 1986; ATKINSON 1992; VAN MAANEN 1995). These discussions raised a number of problems ranging from questions of writing, power, the embedding of small-scale "traditional" communities in larger systems, ethical issues and others. However, what George MARCUS (1986, p.172) deplored twenty years ago, still reads familiar:

"The fact is that the situation of most anthropological ethnography—why this group rather than another, why this locale rather than another—has not been acknowledged as major problem, or at least as an issue that relates to any broader aim of research." [1]

Although fieldwork is considered as the indispensable characteristic of ethnography, problems of defining, finding and delineating a field for an ethnographic study are often absent from both, research reports and textbooks. One learns about field access, field roles, handling relationships in the field, writing and organizing field notes and the like, but hardly about what constitutes an adequate field for a given research question (see also WITTEL 2000). [2]

From the outset sociological ethnography has been confronted much more immediately with the problem of selecting a field. Even though the early studies of the Chicago School on subcultures, "deviants," urban slums etc. still focused on some sort of bounded small communities, sociology could never claim to deal with an "integral spatio-temporal isolate" (MARCUS 1986, p.178). WHYTE’s (1943) corner boys, ANDERSON's (1923) Hobo, GANS' urban villagers (1965) and Levittowners (1967) and other "natives" of famous sociological ethnographies could never be depicted as cultural islands isolated from the surrounding world. Neither could they be mistaken as simply a fragment of the larger society mirroring all its culture. Therefore sociological ethnography has to be more self-conscious regarding its concepts of the field. Unfortunately this has not led to more theoretical and methodological debates. [3]

In this text we would like to contribute to an overdue discussion of the construction of a "field" in theory driven sociological ethnography. With the example of our ongoing research project on exclusion we want to demonstrate how theoretical considerations allow us to link such seemingly incongruous spheres of Swiss society as the Human Resources Management of a multi-national company and programs for the unemployed operating within the social security system. MARCUS calls this strategic selection of one or more locale(s) for participant observation research "multi-sited" ethnography (MARCUS 1995). [4]

This will finally lead us to the question of the fuzziness of such a field in comparison to the traditional concept of the field in ethnography. To what extent does ethnographical sociology need a "field" and what is the function of the field in theory driven qualitative research? Our goal is to demonstrate that multi-sited ethnography in fuzzy fields can be an important contribution to qualitative sociological research in general. And within sociology ethnography cannot be and has never been restricted to the classical "single tribe approach". [5]

2. Theoretical Framework: The Entrepreneurial Self as a Mode of Governmentality

About thirty years ago the liberal American sociologist Daniel BELL heralded in his bestseller "The coming of post-industrial society" (BELL 1973) the arrival of a new society. He announced the governance of an expert elite in state, economy and science, which based on the superiority of their professional knowledge, would shape and guide the fate of Western societies. What was not foreseeable at that time, however, was who exactly would lead in this symphony of knowledge and expertise. Thirty years after this seminal book we can solve this puzzle: it is obvious that the regime of management (not of managers!) has become the leading semantics of and for the social. Managerial rationality invades virtually all the spheres of life from professional careers to private relationships up to social problems of all kinds. Managerialism can be seen as the dominant form of governmentality, that is a conglomerate of techniques and rationalities for ruling others and the self (FOULCAUT 2000; DEAN 1995; ROSE 1996). [6]

Managerial thinking culminates in the character of the entrepreneurial self who rationalizes his or her whole life according to market imperatives and knows how to seize opportunities. In the labor market adaptability, flexibility, disposability, mobility and polyvalence are prerequisites for employability (SENNETT 1998; KANTER 1995; VOSS & PONGRATZ 1998). The individual is called upon to submit to the imperative of relentless self-improvement and to be prepared to incur risks. In order to do so s/he must get used to seeing him- or herself with the eyes of others as a product to be sold in the marketplace. Handling the self as an enterprise is a necessity pertaining also to the "market place of life" beyond the labor market (MILLER & ROSE 1995). The entrepreneurial self has become a "comprehensive model of neoliberal subjectivity" (BRÖCKLING, KRASMANN & LEMKE 2000) not just in the economic system but as a general mode of (self-) regulation. In particular, this model underlies the profound reshaping of social politics currently taking place throughout Western societies (DAHME & WOHLFAHRT 2002). More and more, welfare and unemployment programs and other forms of social political interventions displace "the ethos of the welfare state with that of the 'active society'" (DEAN 1995). Activating recipients of social security and welfare benefits by means of incentives and coercion has become a key strategy against the "evil of dependency" (FRASER & GORDON 1994). [7]

The ideal of the entrepreneurial self simultaneously constitutes an appeal, a threat and an apology. Shrewd self-management leads to success, but these days success is only temporary. On the one hand, in times of rapid social and economic change neither individual performance nor entitlements on the basis of status secure social positions in a stable way over an extended period of time. On the other hand, as BRÖCKLING (2002) has shown in his analyses of management textbooks, the model is itself characterized by inherent paradoxes leading to excessive demands on the individual. One can never really live up to the standards of the ideal and therefore one is structurally forced to try even harder to survive under the "unconditional dictate of the comparative" (BRÖCKLING 2002, p.186). Just as success is attributed to the individual, it has to take the blame for failure as well. Those who for whatever reasons, do not or cannot conform to the model of the active and entrepreneurial self, are at risk of being excluded as "redundant" (BUDE 1998; CASTEL 2000b; OFFE 1994). In sociology this reappearance of the category of the "expendable" ("Überflüssige") is discussed within the theoretical framework of inequality: as a cleavage between "inside" and "outside," as instances of "exclusion" or "underclass." We cannot go into this debate here but want to stress the dynamic aspect of exclusion which, following Robert CASTEL (2002a), we conceptualize as a product of mechanisms starting "in the center" of social structures like for instance in the labor market. And, as KRONAUER (2002) has pointed out, the often-used metaphor of an "outside" of society as opposed to an "inside" must not be misunderstood as a dichotomy. An "outside" in the sense of not being part of society is theoretically and empirically impossible. Rather exclusion must be seen as concurrence of being inside and outside simultaneously (SIMMEL 1992). [8]

The thesis of the entrepreneurial self as one of the main modes of governmentality comes along with a grand attitude and claims to apply to a wide range of phenomena in many social spheres. Undoubtedly it has some intuitive persuasiveness, stemming from our everyday experience with the omnipresence of managerial rhetoric. However, up to now the thesis is primarily based on discourse analysis (BRÖCKLING et al. 2000; BURCHELL et al. 1991; PIEPER & GUTIÉRREZ RODRÍGUEZ 2003).1) This raises the question to what extent this cultural model is actually effective in different social contexts. To whom is it applied and in what ways is it transformed in the process of adaptation? In addition, we may enquire about the agents and institutions for enforcing the model. In our ongoing research project on the enforcement of the entrepreneurial self we are thus interested in the practical relevance of the model and its supposed connection to social exclusion.2) Does it really guide practical action and daily routines in observable ways? Since we are interested in cultural knowledge that is actually in use, not just in expert knowledge laid out in written form, nor in mere accounts, we opted for an ethnographical research design. As we all know there is no ethnography without a field inhabited by some sort of "natives." But where is our field, if we track a highly theoretical concept with supposedly almost unlimited applicability? [9]

3. A Multi-Sited Ethnography Approach to a Theoretical Question

Unlike traditional cultural anthropology sociological ethnography in and of complex societies rarely ever deals with a clearly bounded group in a single place. Its research objects are derived from theoretical knowledge and questions. Therefore the field of sociological ethnography cannot be found somewhere out there, but is constructed by the researcher. Moreover, a field for sociological ethnography is most likely not restricted to one observational site. Its contours emerge only during the research process as the ethnographer traces informants across multiple sites that turn out to become relevant in the light of the research question (MARCUS 1995). Sociological ethnography has to deal with what we call "fuzzy fields," that is fields without clear boundaries with regard to many dimensions. From a symbolic interactionist vantage point we conceive of ethnographic fields as "social worlds" and these are formed by "sets of common or joint activities or concerns bound together by a network of communications" (KLING & GERSON, cited in STRAUSS 1984, p.123). They are formed by a set of actors focused on a common concern and acting on the basis of a minimal working consensus (CLARKE 1991; STRÜBING 1997). Social worlds are contexts for certain processes, actions and ideas and their protagonists, which are the actual object of an ethnographic study. Or as GEERTZ (1973, p.22) has reminded the ethnographers: "The locus of study is not the object of study." Nonetheless the ethnographer still needs to identify concrete locales within a social world where the practices and interactions s/he is interested in can actually be observed. But identifying adequate sites, which add up to an ethnographic field, requires a theoretical clarification of the object of study first. Such a theoretical framework can then serve as a compass for the search of a field. [10]

The topic of research of our study is composed of institutionalized practice and interpretation in relation to a sociological concept—namely the discourse of the entrepreneurial self and its implications and outcomes regarding exclusion. In particular, we focus the dimensions of work and routine: we analyze the social organization of exclusion and integration as forms of work. The field proper to explore such a topic is composed of a collection of forms of practice, which may be found in different, but complexly connected sites. Again these sites are initially determined by theoretical reflections. In search of a field to investigate this concept empirically we decided to focus on the labor market as the quasi "natural habitat" for the entrepreneurial self and as one of the main sites for the production of inequality and exclusion. Obviously the labor market is not a field constituted by a geographically located space with more or less clearly delineated boundaries. Rather it is a concept about the negotiation of labor demand and supply. This concept is put into practice by people in organizations deploying labor such as public or private enterprises as well as of organizations steering people into and out of the labor market such as headhunters, outplacement agencies, welfare programs for the unemployed and the like—each of them constituting a social world of its own. And it is in these organizations where we find our observational sites. [11]

CASTEL's suggestion to study processes of exclusion by looking at mechanisms "in the center" helps us to identify strategic locales for exploring issues of exclusion regarding labor market participation. This perspective leads us into the management ranks of private enterprises, where decisions regarding layoffs are taken, thus triggering careers of exclusion. At the same time we may suppose that this social context is also the stronghold of managerial ideology and the belief in the entrepreneurial self. Taking the idea of exclusion as a process seriously we then proceed to the organizations which deal with those who have been excluded from the labor market, namely re-integration programs for the unemployed. We want to stress, however, that we do not assume that only the economy is the site of exclusion and only welfare programs are a context where integration happens. It goes without saying that we keep an eye on both exclusion and integration in both fields. [12]

Although we are now confronted with a vast and fuzzy field spanning an indefinite number of social worlds, we nevertheless have a clear object of observation: our aim is to trace a specified complex of social actions and interpretations. To connect the fields of economy and welfare, which at first glance appear to be worlds apart, we use Erving GOFFMAN's concept of "cooling the mark out" (GOFFMAN 1952) as heuristics for our fieldwork. In a society where "many (…) are called but few be chosen" (GOFFMAN 1952, p.456) there is a need for institutionalized practices to reconcile people who have been deprived of their position with their fate and provide them with a new identity framework. From a perspective of cooling the mark out, four aspects of exclusion come to the fore: (1) institutional procedures and trajectories, (2) cooling agents, (3) those who are being cooled out, (4) legitimation of processes and outcomes (which in our case may or may not be based on the ideal of the entrepreneurial self). Thus, using a precise instrument for observation, derived from sociological theory, we can counterbalance the fuzziness of our highly complex fields. In other words, we use the concept of "cooling the mark out" as a device for tracing exclusion. [13]

Concretely our research sites in the economic field are a multi-national company, a bank and a large nationally operating retail company where we analyze the handling of so called "low performers," i.e. employees who fall short of the expected performance level. Since fieldwork in the bank and the retail company is still under way the following discussion of research problems and results pertains only to the multi-national company. Of course a multi-national company with roughly 80,000 employees spread all around the globe is in itself a rather fuzzy field. In this paper we cannot delve into all the problems arising in such a site. Suffice to say that we concentrated on Human Resources management, on line managers, and on the internal social services of the company's headquarters in Switzerland. In the field of the welfare system we have done participant observation in three programs for the unemployed catering to different target groups, looking mainly at the way they these programs try to coach their clients back into the labor market. [14]

As mentioned before, this is an ongoing research. Nevertheless some interesting findings are emerging, which show us that the complexities of the research design are worth the effort. We'd like to mention only three striking observations: first, the social differentiation of the norm of the entrepreneurial self, secondly, unexpected differences between economy and the welfare system regarding their cooling out-practices and thirdly similarities in their core processes. [15]

(1) As predicted by various discourse analytic studies the model of the entrepreneurial self is actually anchored quite strongly in the economy and in the welfare system alike. But there is a clear social differentiation in the application of the norm. In the multi-national company the norm is formally applied to everyone: all the employees are subject to a system of performance management that reads like the embodiment of the entrepreneurial self. For instance there is a pervasive self-perception that, "we are a high performing company," coupled with the principle of "raising the bar," i.e. of yearly raising performance goals for all employees. In practice this system is highly biased towards management. Employees below managerial functional levels are not really expected to fulfill the norm. They experience the process of performance appraisals as mere formalism. In the welfare system we find differences between the three programs according to the qualification levels and social status of their clients. While the "cream" of the unemployed (i.e. those with formal qualifications) is expected to conform to the model of relentless self-improvement and self-marketing, there are only rudimentary traces of the norm to be found in the programs for the unskilled clients and young people without formal qualifications respectively. [16]

(2) Regarding the practices of "cooling out" our observations so far do not conform to the image of a performance driven economy firing low performers without notice. Although the Human Resources management system stresses performance and contains clear procedures in case of "failure," the actual treatment of low performers seems to be more case sensitive, individualized and lenient in the private company than in the integration programs of the welfare system. Of course soft practices are only used to a certain degree and for a limited time—as one manager said: "Everyone can get into a crisis and have a bad patch. But this should not last longer than six months." Apart from the costs of replacing employees we suspect at least two more reasons for this leniency. On the one hand the company’s culture is primarily focused on "high performers" who get all the attention. Those at the bottom are simply not considered important enough to risk a conflict with the influential employee's association and damage to the company's image in case of a harsh treatment of "low performers." On the other hand any formal system of performance measurement necessarily produces "low performers."3) Regardless of the actual performance level someone has to be at the "low" end of the range. Thus, dismissing a "low performer" just creates a slot for the next one.4) As long as a "low performer" does not actually impede the team it may be less disruptive to keep him/her or to transfer the person to another job than to fire him/her. [17]

(3) Manager's prime task is to mobilize commitment to the job and good performance. Social workers dealing with the unemployed aim at "repairing" their supposed deficits regarding "employability" and at coaching them back into the labor market.5) Both groups hold the same basic belief, namely that success or failure in the labor market (if not in life generally) is a result of an individual's own effort and ultimately his /her own responsibility. Although they act in very different social worlds there is another striking parallel in their activities: At the core of their work we can identify similar "technologies of the self" (FOUCAULT 1988) which are used to transform their employees' and clients' behavior respectively according to the ideal of the entrepreneurial self. Basically both managers and social workers follow a three-step sequence consisting of (i) exploring the self, (ii) improving the self, and (iii) marketing the self; both using a form of interaction, which structurally resembles the religious confession (HAHN 2000). In the economy the formal interaction context for bringing up the subject of performance are three yearly meetings between manager and employee called performance reviews, during which goals, deficits, measures and possible sanctions are discussed. The employee is supposed to propose his/her individual goals, judge his/her own performance, stress his/her success or confess failures to reach them respectively and agree with the manager on measures to improve and generally reach higher goals in the following year. In the programs for the unemployed more or less sophisticated forms of "assessments" are used to lead the program participants to recognize their own weaknesses, strengths and goals and to devise strategies to enhance their employability. Concerning the latter it is noteworthy that the programs do not really train actual marketable skills but concentrate almost exclusively on the training of job search strategies and impression management techniques for job interviews.6) [18]

4. Conclusions: Risks and Gains of Multi-Sited Research With the Concept of the Fuzzy Fields

As we have shown, multi-sited ethnography is a complex research strategy confronting the ethnographers with methodological and practical problems. The question remains: is there a reasonable balance between the extra effort and the returns? In conclusion we want to discuss the advantages and the specific problems of multi-sited sociological ethnography in four arguments. [19]

(1) Multi-sited ethnography follows the principle of theoretically based contrasting as it has been proposed by the grounded theory approach (GLASER & STRAUSS 1967; STRAUSS & CORBIN 1990). It is comparative by nature, but it is more than that. As George MARCUS (1995, p.102) has noted, conventional comparisons in traditional ethnography "are generated for homogeneously conceived conceptual units": one compares communities, locales, peoples and looks for contrasts and similarities. In multi-sited ethnographic research the object of study is inherently fragmented and multiply situated. Therefore comparison is an integral dimension of such a research design, but these comparisons take on, to quote MARCUS (1995, p.102) "the form of juxtapositions of phenomena that conventionally have appeared to be (or conceptually have been kept) 'worlds apart'." To demonstrate the difference between comparative and multi-sited research with an example from our own research we refer to a previous project. In this project we analyzed the functioning of public welfare in Switzerland conducting five ethnographic case studies in five different welfare administrations (MAEDER & NADAI 2004a, b). Although in Switzerland there is little legal regulation on a national level concerning entitlement to welfare benefits, cantonal laws are based on a few common principles. Thus we had one research object, namely the administering of welfare, and we used five different sites to study local variations thereof. The comparison served to obtain a more fine-grained picture of similar processes in different places. In contrast, in our current research the findings from the different fields should provide us with answers to different questions like elements of a puzzle that are put together to form a complete picture. Since the object of the study spans more than one social world, it cannot be reconstructed by exploring only one field. Thus, a multi-site approach is indispensable. [20]

(2) Traditional ethnography has always stressed the importance of a prolonged stay in a chosen field. Classical cultural anthropologists used to spend one, two or more years in the field before they dared to claim having reached some understanding of the culture they studied. If you used this approach in multi-sited research one project would probably take up a decade, not to speak of the problems of funding such a long-term venture. There are a number of arguments why sociological ethnography in general and especially multi-sited ethnography cannot and need not follow the classical model. In a multi-sited research the depth of focus will vary from site to site due to problems of differing accessibility and the nature of the field itself. For example, while we conducted a classical form of participant observation in the three programs for the unemployed by hanging around for a chosen period of time, participating in various self chosen events, informal talk and interviews, formal interviews etc., we faced quite different conditions in the multi-national company. In this company we were summoned up to attend certain clearly defined situations and events such as managers' meetings, team meetings, round tables where representatives of HR-management, social services and medical services discussed cases and the like. So time was also short for our "natives" and in order to understand what was going on we had to rely much more on formal interviews than with the unemployed. We argue that this merely reflects the terms on which also the "natives" in this field meet and interact: the problem we are interested in—the handling of low performers—emerges only occasionally. The specific case (one or more employees) constitutes the "going concern" (HUGHES 1971) for a changing set of actors who otherwise do not permanently work together as a team. [21]

(3) Nevertheless one consequence of shorter stays in the field is a loss of descriptive details in different contexts, which are part of the whole study. However, this must not be considered as the result of a rushed ethnography and therefore as bad research. Rather, it follows from the theoretical decision to restrict the description to central concepts and omit contextual details, which in a sense would add color to an already understandable black and white picture. The question then arises: how problematic is this loss of context description? If we think of famous sociological ethnographies conducted with the use of multiple sites, for instance BECKER's studies on marijuana smoking and jazz music (BECKER 1973), the work of STRAUSS and his associates on nursing practices (STRAUSS et al. 1963), John IRWIN'S research (1985) on adaptation to the jail or Eviatar ZERUBAVEL'S (1979) analysis of patterns of time in hospital life and others, the reader has to concede, that they all gave us poor descriptions of everyday life in their fields, but rich insight into important social phenomena. Sociology works with a concept of culture different from classical cultural anthropology. A concept of culture as a theory of society cannot—in our view—be a goal of sociological ethnography. Therefore sociological studies based on participant observation have always been restricted in this sense. The argument for this abandonment is theoretical. On a theoretical level functional differentiation, pluralistic lifestyles and individualization take their toll. Our "natives" live in many places, perform many roles and cannot easily be put into one single category or group. In other words: Sociological ethnography does not equate culture with society. Culture in this view consists of shared webs of meanings in language and interaction. But the concept of society adheres to the emerging social forms thereof, like social roles, class, institutions, or—in our example—exclusion. Once again the object of the study is not a particular field and all its culture, but some theoretical concept, which supposedly can be studied best in a certain context or field. [22]

(4) The argument against the need for contextual details seems to diminish the relevance of a given field. From this evolves a difficult question. If sociological ethnography does not aim at analyzing a field in its entirety that is as a unique web of meaning and an ensemble of equally unique structural features, what exactly is the function of the field(s)? To what extent does multi-sited sociological ethnography still need a field? If the ethnographer decides beforehand to limit his or her observation and analysis to questions derived analytically from sociological theory, is there not the risk to single out arbitrarily certain aspects of the field compatible with this interest at the expense of other dimensions which may be much more important to the "natives"? The cornerstone of ethnography has always been to understand a culture from an "emic" perspective and to translate from one "cultural idiom" into another (WERNER & SCHOEPFLE 1987). In our view the yardstick for an ethnography, which despite a certain detachment from concrete fields still asserts the claim to understand a given field in its singularity, has to be whether the sociologist's research questions make sense at all in the eyes of the "natives." While quantitative survey sociology assumes that asking questions is just a matter of adequate wording, the starting point of ethnography is to learn which questions are actually understandable in a given culture. Does a research question strike relevant issues of the field? Does the research tackle a problem with some significance for the "native's" everyday life? And, of course, in the end the "natives" should also recognize themselves at least partially in the findings of such a study. This attitude includes the readiness to adapt one's research to new questions and issues emerging from the field. From this perspective analyzing, understanding and describing the specifics of a given field is necessary as far as it contributes to an adequate comprehension of the phenomenon under scrutiny (see also LAUSER 2005). [23]

(5) After listing all these questions and challenges of multi-sited ethnography we would like to conclude this paper by pointing out one major gain of such a research strategy. In our view the main advantages lies in the potential for generalization. By using multi-sited ethnography we can enlarge the traditional "single tribe, single scribe" way of doing ethnographic research and contribute to sociological questions that cut across the boundary of a single traditional field. We are searching categories of social practice that can be generalized to a higher level and reach beyond a single social group. In the case of our research on the entrepreneurial self and exclusion, switching between seemingly disparate fields allowed us to contrast the elegant findings of discourse analysis to the "dirty" practice of everyday life in organizations. It also enabled us to examine the correspondence of discourse and everyday life and trace the limits of the discursive concept. Thus multi-sited ethnography is a powerful tool for building truly empirical grounded theories. [24]

Notes

1) Moreover, governmentality studies have been criticized for a simplistic equation of the normative ideal and what individuals actually adopt and integrate into their subjectivity (LANGEMEYER 2004). <back>

2) The project "The enforcement of the entrepreneurial self. The work of exclusion and integration in welfare and economy" is part of the National Research Program 51 "Social Integration and Social Exclusion" of the Swiss National Science Foundation and funded with the research grant No. 405140-69081. <back>

3) As one of the top executives reportedly frames the problem: "some people may be good performers in the Super League, but we're playing in the Champions League—here they're just low performers". <back>

4) There is a widespread belief among employees that line managers have to meet a quota of low performers within their team, so they are forced to single out a certain number of employees as such. <back>

5) Here we use the term "social worker" only as a shorthand designation for the employees of the three integration programs. In fact, few of the employees are professional social workers. <back>

6) Following Erving GOFFMAN (1966, p.13) we might say they try to teach the unemployed to transform (potentially negative) "information given off" into (positive) "information given" that is to control the impression they communicate during a job interview in verbal and non-verbal ways. <back>

References

Anderson, Nels (1923). The Hobo: The Sociology of the Homeless Man. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Becker, Howard S. (1973). Outsiders. Studies in the Sociology of Deviance. New York: The Free Press.

Bell, Daniel (1973). The Coming of Post-industrial Society: A Venture in Social Forecasting. New York: Basic Books (last edition: 1999).

Bröckling, Ulrich (2000). Totale Mobilmachung. Menschenführung im Qualitäts- und Selbstmanagement. In Ulrich Bröckling, Susanne Krasmann & Thomas Lemke (Eds.), Gouvernementalität der Gegenwart. Studien zur Ökonomisierung des Sozialen (pp.131-67). Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp.

Bröckling, Ulrich (2002). Jeder könnte, aber nicht alle können. Konturen des unternehmerischen Selbst. Mittelweg, 36(4), 6-25.

Bröckling, Ulrich, Susanne Krasmann & Thomas Lemke (Eds.) (2000). Gouvernementalität der Gegenwart. Studien zur Ökonomisierung des Sozialen. Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp.

Bude, Heinz (1998). Die Überflüssigen als transversale Kategorie. In Peter A. Berger & Michael Vester (Eds.), Alte Ungleichheiten. Neue Spannungen (pp.362-382). Opladen: Leske & Budrich.

Burchell, Graham, Gordon, Colin & Peter Miller (Eds.) (1991) The Foucault Effect. Studies in Governmentality. Chicago: Chicago University Press.

Castel, Robert (2000a). Die Fallstricke des Exklusionsbegriffs. Mittelweg, 36(9/3), 11-25.

Castel, Robert (2000b). Die Metamorphosen der sozialen Frage. Eine Chronik der Lohnarbeit. Konstanz: Universitätsverlag Konstanz.

Dahme, Heinz-Jürgen & Wohlfahrt, Norbert (2002). Aktivierender Staat. Ein neues sozialpolitisches Leitbild und seine Konsequenzen für die soziale Arbeit. Neue Praxis, 32(1), 10-32.

Dean, Mitchell (1995). Governing the Unemployed Self in an Active Society. Economy and Society, 24(4), 559-83.

Foucault, Michel (1988). Technologies of the Self. Amherst: The University of Massachusetts Press.

Foucault, Michel (2000). Die Gouvernementalität. In Ulrich Bröckling, Susanne Krasmann & Thomas Lemke (Eds.), Gouvernementalität der Gegenwart. Studien zur Oekonomisierung des Sozialen (pp.41-67). Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp.

Fraser, Nancy & Linda Gordon (1994). A Genealogy of Dependency: Tracing a Keyword of the U.S. Welfare State. Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, 19, 309-36.

Gans, Herbert (1965). The Urban Villagers. Group and Class in the Life of Italian-Americans. New York: Free Press.

Gans, Herbert (1967). The Levittowners. Ways of Life and Politics in a New Suburban Community. New York: Random House.

Geertz, Clifford (1973). The Interpretation of Cultures. New York: Basic Books.

Glaser, Barney & Strauss, Anselm (1967). The Discovery of Grounded Theory: Strategies for Qualitative Research. New York: Aldine de Gruyter.

Goffman, Erving (1952). On Cooling the Mark Out. Some Aspects of Adaption to Failure. Psychiatry, 15, 451-63.

Goffman, Erving (1966). Behavior in Public Places. Notes on the Social Organization of Gatherings. New York: The Free Press.

Hahn, Alois (2000). Zur Soziologie der Beichte und anderer Formen institutionalisierter Bekenntnisse: Selbstthematisierung und Zivilisationsprozess. In Alois Hahn, Konstruktionen des Selbst, der Welt und der Geschichte. Aufsätze zur Kultursoziologie (pp.197-236). Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp.

Hughes, Everett C. (1971). The Sociological Eye. Selected Papers. Chicago: Aldine.

Irwin, John (1985). The Jail. Managing the Underclass in American Society. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Kanter, Rosabeth M. (1995). World Class. Thriving locally in the Global Economy. New York: Simon & Schuster.

Kronauer, Martin (2002). Exklusion. Die Gefährdung des Sozialen im hoch entwickelten Kapitalismus. Frankfurt am Main: Campus.

Langemeyer, Ines (2004). Subjektivität und kollektive Erfahrung. Subjektivierung als Machtinstrument im Produktionsprozess. Widerspruch. Beiträge zur sozialistischen Politik, 46, 65-78.

Lauser, Andrea (2005, June). Translokale Ethnographie [49 paragraphs]. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung / Forum: Qualitative Social Research [On-line Journal], 6(3), Art. 7. Available at: http://www.qualitative-research.net/fqs-texte/3-05/05-3-7-d.htm [Date of Access: September 16, 2005].

Maeder, Christoph & Nadai, Eva (2004a). Organisierte Armut. Sozialhilfe aus wissenssoziologischer Sicht. Konstanz: Universitätsverlag Konstanz.

Maeder, Christoph & Nadai, Eva (2004b). Zwischen Armutsverwaltung und Sozialarbeit. Formen der Organisation von Sozialhilfe in der Schweiz. Schweizerische Zeitschrift für Soziologie, 30(1), 59-76.

Marcus, George E. (1995). Ethnography in/of the World System: The Emergence of Multi-Sited Ethnography. Annual Review of Anthropology, 24, 95-117.

Miller, Peter & Rose, Nicholas (1995). Production, Identity, and Democracy. Theory and Society, 24, 427-467.

Offe, Claus (1994). "Moderne Barbarei": Der Naturzustand im Kleinformat? Journal für Sozialforschung, 34, 229-48.

Pieper, Marianne & Gutiérrez Rodríguez, Encarnación (Eds.) (2003). Gouvernementalität: ein sozialwissenschaftliches Konzept in Anschluss an Michel Foucault. Frankfurt am Main: Campus.

Rose, Nicolas (1996). The Death of the Social: Re-figuring the Territory of Government. Economy and Society, 25, 327-56.

Sennett, Richard (1998). The Corrosion of Character: The Personal Consequences of Work in the New Capitalism. New York: W.W. Norton.

Simmel, Georg (1992). Der Arme. In Otthein Rammstedt (Ed.), Untersuchungen über die Formen der Vergesellschaftung (pp.512-55). Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp.

Strauss, Anselm L. & Corbin, Juliet (1990). Basics of Qualitative Research. Grounded Theory Procedures and Techniques. Newbury Park: Sage.

Strauss, Anselm L., Leonard Schatzman, Danuta Ehrlich, Rue Bucher & Melvin Sabshin (1963). The Hospital and Its Negotiated Order. In Eliot Freidson (Ed.), The Hospital in Modern Society (pp.147-69). London: Collier-MacMillan.

Voss, Günter G. & Pongratz, Hans J. (1998). Der Arbeitskraftunternehmer. Eine neue Grundform der Ware Arbeitskraft. Kölner Zeitschrift für Soziologie und Sozialpsychologie, 50, 131-158.

Werner, Oswald & Schoepfle, Mark G. (1987). Systematic Fieldwork. Foundations of Ethnography and Interviewing. Newbury Park: Sage.

Whyte, William Foote (1943). Street Corner Society. The Political Structure of an Italian Slum. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Wittel, Andreas (2000, January). Ethnography on the Move: From Ffield to Net to Internet [23 paragraphs]. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung / Forum: Qualitative Social Research [On-line Journal], 1(1), Art. 21. Available at: http://www.qualitative-research.net/fqs-texte/1-00/1-00wittel-e.htm [Date of Access: September 16, 2005].

Zerubavel, Eviatar (1979). Patterns of Time in Hospital Life. A Sociological Perspective. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.

Authors

Prof. Dr. Eva NADAI; fields of work: organizational studies, sociology of professions, gender, ethnographic sociology

Contact:

Prof. Dr. Eva Nadai

Fachhochschule Solothurn Nordwestschweiz
Riggenbachstrasse 16
CH-4600 Olten

E-Mail: Eva.Nadai@fhso.ch
URL: http://www.fhso.ch/

 

Prof. Dr. Christoph MAEDER; fields of work: sociology of knowledge, education and culture, organizational studies, ethnographic sociology

Contact:

Prof. Dr. Christoph Maeder

Pedagogical College for Higher Education
Nationalstr. 19
CH 8280 Kreuzlingen

E-Mail: Christoph.Maeder@phtg.ch
URL: http://www.phtg.ch/, http://www.sfs.unisg.ch/

Citation

Nadai, Eva & Maeder, Christoph (2005). Fuzzy Fields. Multi-Sited Ethnography in Sociological Research [24 paragraphs]. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung / Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 6(3), Art. 28, http://nbn-resolving.de/urn:nbn:de:0114-fqs0503288.



Copyright (c) 2005 Eva Nadai, Christoph Maeder

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.