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What's wrong with ethnography? The myth of theoretical description

Hammersley, Martyn (1990). What's wrong with ethnography? The myth of theoretical description. Sociology, 24(4) pp. 597–615.

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This paper questions the commitment of ethnography to the goal of producing theoretical descriptions of particular settings, groups or organisations. It is argued that both the concepts of theory and description assumed by this goal are misconceived. Various interpretations of the concept of theory embedded in ethnographic work are examined, revealing some serious difficulties. It is also argued that the concept of ethnographic description, as currently conceived, obscures the role of values and purposes in structuring descriptions. The conclusion reached is that the goals of ethnographic research need rethinking.

Item Type: Journal Article
Copyright Holders: 1990 BSA Publications Ltd
ISSN: 0038-0385
Extra Information: Reprinted in A. Bryman and R.G. Burgess (eds). Qualitative Research, London, Sage, 1999
Academic Unit/Department: Education and Language Studies > Childhood, Development and Learning
Interdisciplinary Research Centre: Centre for Research in Education and Educational Technology (CREET)
Item ID: 20409
Depositing User: Users 9543 not found.
Date Deposited: 04 Mar 2010 14:43
Last Modified: 02 Dec 2010 20:49
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