Crafting Ethnographic Fieldwork : Sites, Selves and Social Worlds book cover
1st Edition

Crafting Ethnographic Fieldwork
Sites, Selves and Social Worlds

  • Available for pre-order on March 29, 2023. Item will ship after April 19, 2023
ISBN 9781032230009
April 19, 2023 Forthcoming by Routledge
256 Pages

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Book Description

Through a series of case studies, this book provides an understanding of the practice of ethnographic fieldwork in a variety of contexts, from everyday settings to formal institutions. Demonstrating that ethnography is best viewed as a series of site-specific challenges, it showcases ethnographic fieldwork as ongoing analytic engagement with concrete social worlds. From engagements with boxing and night life to preschooling and migratory encampments, portrayed is a process that is anything but a set of pre-packaged challenges and hurdles of simple-minded procedural tropes such as entrée, rapport and departure. Instead, ethnography emerges as what it has been from its beginnings: a rough-and-ready analytic matter of seeking understanding in unrecognized and diverse fields of interaction. Crafting Ethnographic Fieldwork will appeal to scholars and students across the social sciences with interests in the practice of ethnography and related questions of research methodology.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Contours of the Craft  PART I: SITES  1. Insider Ethnography in Professional Boxing  2. Getting at the Experience of Confinement in Detention  3. Working Against Social Order in Documenting Imprisonment  4. Site Juxtaposition and Constitutive Comparison in Provisional Encampments  PART II: SELVES  5. Is Ethnography Only for Early Career Researchers?  6. Senior Activists and Age Affiliations in Ethnographic Peering  7. Shifting Codes, Continual Vetting and Recurrent Rapport-Building  8. Creating Space for "Foreign Brides" to Talk Back  PART III: SOCIAL WORLDS  9. Preschool Social Worlds in Interactional Context  10. Going Concerns of Ethnographic Membership  11. When Fieldwork Comes Home  12. Interpretive Complexity in Language Discordant Fieldwork  PART IV: AFTERWORD  Elaborating Contours of the Craft

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Amir B. Marvasti is Professor of Sociology at Penn State Altoona, USA. He is the author of Qualitative Research in Sociology, and the co-editor of Researching Social Problems, The Sage Handbook of Interview Research and Doing Qualitative Research: A Comprehensive Guide.

Jaber F. Gubrium is Professor Emeritus of Sociology at the University of Missouri, USA. He is the co-author of Constructing the Life Course and the co-editor of Postmodern Interviewing, Aging and Everyday Life and Qualitative Research Practice.


'An outstanding achievement, this book describes the practice of ethnographic fieldwork from a "pedagogy of exemplification" perspective. Showcased are the contrasting constraints and opportunities of strikingly different field sites. From competitive boxing, preschooling, and senior activism, to migratory encampments, juvenile detention, and imprisonment, the reader comes to understand the many things it can mean in situ for the working ethnographer to discover and document social worlds.'

Malin Åkerström, Professor Emeritus, Department of Sociology, Lund University, Sweden

'This volume demonstrates how fieldwork is crafted in site-specific settings. In this sense, ethnography cannot be reduced to a set of techniques or to overblown theories. Written by a distinguished set of authors, I can think of no better introduction to ethnography for novices, while seasoned ethnographers will find much to enjoy.'

David Silverman, Professor Emeritus, Department of Sociology, Goldsmiths’ College, University of London, UK

'Amir Marvasti and Jaber Gubrium, two highly accomplished and respected ethnographers, have assembled an edited collection that describes the ontology and practices of a mature craft of ethnographic fieldwork. Chapters demonstrate the importance of site-specificity, imagined subjectivity, and procedural tolerance regardless of whether the focus is youth detention centers in Sweden, migrant camps in Sierra Leone, prisons in India, or Montessori pre-schools in the United States. The book does an important service by moving beyond the typical, unworkable recipe-like renditions of the craft.'

Donileen R. Loseke, Professor Emeritus, University of South Florida, USA