Review Essay: Ethnography Lost and Found: Qualitative Methodology Between Science, Art, and Social Powers

Jaan Valsiner


The Handbook of Ethnography reviewed here is a thorough treatise of the field as it currently stands—enthusiastically proliferating the uses of qualitative methodology, while remaining disoriented by the role post-modernist thinking has played in the contemporary social sciences. As a result, the uses of qualitative techniques become potential tools for telling journalistic stories, while removing the ideal of science—of creating universal knowledge—from the agenda. It is hoped that the time-honored traditions of ethnography will survive the social pressures of bureaucratization and institutional control over contemporary social sciences. The Handbook also provides an excellent overview of the various research traditions that have emerged from the "Chicago School" of sociological thought. At the same time it fails to represent the ethnographic thought in countries outside of the British-American axis. Nevertheless, the Handbook is a remarkable synthesis of existing thinking in and around of ethnography.
URN: urn:nbn:de:0114-fqs0202297


ethnography; ethnomethodology; Chicago school" of sociology; bureaucratization of science; generality of knowledge

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Copyright (c) 2002 Jaan Valsiner

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