1st Edition

Communities of Practice and Ethnographic Fieldwork Creating Supportive Research Experiences

    286 Pages 9 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    286 Pages 9 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Communities of Practice and Ethnographic Fieldwork offers a new perspective on how ethnography might be learned in real-time through participation in a supportive community of practice.

    It draws on the experiences, knowledge, and training of an interdisciplinary group of scholars, who have studied legal topics ethnographically alongside and with the support of fellow ethnographers at varying stages of their careers. Contributors address topics that are of interest to those who teach ethnography as well as to those who are learning this approach. Such topics include ethics, positionality in the field, the combination of personal and professional circumstances, and the process and pain of changing research topics. Each chapter emphasizes the role of mentoring and collective problem-solving through a lab model of fieldwork practice, particularly when carrying out research with subjects and interlocutors who may have undergone trauma.

    Written by a diverse group of scholars, this volume will appeal especially to Black, Indigenous and People of Color, and female-identifying ethnographers in a range of fields. It provides a framework for how fieldwork can continue moving forward even in the most challenging of times and will be of particular interest to scholars in anthropology, sociology, law, urban planning/studies, geography, political science, ethnic studies, public policy, sociolegal studies, and education.

    Introduction: Learning and Teaching Ethnography in Real Time through Supportive Communities of Practice

    Lee Cabatingan, Susan Bibler Coutin and Deyanira Nevárez Martinez

    Part I: Is it Even Possible?


    1. Is it Possible to Train Ethnographers in Programs Where Most Faculty and Students Use Other Methods?

    Susan Bibler Coutin


    2. Is it Possible to Conduct Ethnographic Research on Intimate Partner Violence as a Survivor of Intimate Partner Violence?

    Veronica Gonzalez


    3. Is it Possible to be a Parent and Ethnographer?

    Amanda Fisher


    4. Is it Possible to Foster Equitable Urban Planning Through Ethnography?

    Deyanira Nevarez Martinez


    Part II: How Can We Survive these Times?


    5. How and Why Should I Continue Ethnographic Fieldwork when Challenges Abound?

    Lee Cabatingan


    6. How Can Dissertation Research Survive a Global Pandemic?  Reimagining Ethnography through Remote Data Collection

    Alex Aguirre


    7. How Can We Survive the Challenges of Accessing Fieldsites and Harnessing Emotion as a Tool for Worldmaking?

    Jordan Grasso


    8. How Can Ethnographers Survive Methodological, Ethical, and Practical Challenges in the Field? Adaption Through Deepening and Expanding Connections

    Joanne B. DeCaro


    9. How Can We Survive These Times by Centering Care? Archival Research on Anti-Blackness and Black Resistance in the United States

    Courtney M. Echols and Meghan Maree Ballard


    Part III: What Do We Do Now?


    10. What Do We Do as Activists Practicing Ethnography and Law?

    Véronique Fortin


    11. What Do We Do to Build Collaborative Learning Environments and Practices as Diasporic Indigenous Researchers?

    Nancy Morales, Daina Sanchez, Juan Pacheco Marcial and Abigail Morales


    12. What Do We Do to Learn Collaborative Visual Analysis for Ethnographic Practice?

    Justin Perez


    13. What Do We Do When Ethnography Becomes a Political Project?

    Navi Kaur


    Lee Cabatingan is an Associate Professor in the Departments of Criminology, Law and Society and Anthropology at the University of California, Irvine, USA.

    Susan Bibler Coutin is a Professor in the Departments of Criminology, Law and Society and Anthropology at the University of California, Irvine, USA.

    Deyanira Nevárez Martínez is an Assistant Professor of Urban and Regional Planning at Michigan State University, USA. 

    "A much welcome reflection on how one designs and conducts fieldwork in our legally and socially turbulent times. Calling for collaboration and community despite the isolation, racism, and structural hurdles of doing ethnographic research, this volume is thoughtful, provocative and inspiring." -- Eve Darian-Smith, Distinguished Professor and Chair of Global and International Studies, University of California, Irvine, USA

    “This volume offers a master-class in making ethnographic knowledge collaboratively and sustaining diverse research relationships in complicated times. The authors give us intimate access to their experiences doing research during COVID-19 and amidst movements for social justice. They show how the UC Irvine Law and Ethnography Lab, an innovative research community based on horizontal relationships and mutual support between junior and senior researchers, supported methodological experiments and helped novice and seasoned scholars meet both the perennial challenges of in-person, experiential research and the novel ones posed by the pandemic and by pervasive inequality. These rich ethnographies of improvisation and responsiveness, in both virtual and embodied interactions, provide pointers and pathways for researchers embarking on their own engaged projects and underscore the vital connections between method, care, and vulnerability in all kinds of field research.”Leo Coleman, City University of New York, USA

    "In Communities of Practice and Ethnographic Fieldwork, Cabatingan, Coutin and Nevárez Martinez introduce us to their stalwart band of sociolegal scholars navigating the troubled seas of our present moment. Faced, as many of us were, with the strange circumstances of having technological innovation mix with a 100-year pandemic to refashion all our social worlds in ways more thickly connected globally, but also more tenuous locally, they find both succor and scholarship in the regular meetings of their research collective, the Law and Ethnography Lab of UC Irvine’s Criminology Law & Society Department. What we learn in this most innovative volume, is just how important both community and critical empirical inquiry is to the scientific investigation of law’s place in our societies, for the vitality not just of our research, but for the groups we populate, and the populations with which we collaborate. Moreover, as the social ruptures of the recent past leave us with both a recalcitrant science skepticism and a rising antiliberal authoritarianism, the chapters in this invigorating volume demonstrate just how and why an ethnographic approach to peoples’ everyday experiences and understandings of and with law is more important than ever. Indeed, to the extent that the hoary institutions of scientific knowledge and the rule of law are more embattled now than at any time in recent memory, the social scientific approaches to legality so eloquently demonstrated in this edited volume, all serve to remind us of law’s varied and enduring significance for peoples across the globe, at a moment when that lesson couldn’t be more essential for all of us." -- Justin B. Richland, JD, PhD, Chair of the Department of Anthropology, UC Irvine, USA, Faculty Fellow of the American Bar Foundation, Associate Justice, Hopi Tribal Court of Appeals.