1st Edition

Diffractive Ethnography Social Sciences and the Ontological Turn

By Jessica Smartt Gullion Copyright 2018
    182 Pages 3 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    182 Pages 3 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Across intellectual disciplines, the ontological turn is restructuring how we think about our relationships with the natural world. Influenced by the seemingly disparate realms of indigenous philosophy and quantum physics, the turn invites us to think about intra-actions and assemblages of human and nonhuman entities.

    This raises epistemological questions about how we know about the world, and spotlights some of the problems with how we currently do conventional social science research. Diffractive Ethnography invites social scientists to consider alternate methodologies that account for the complexity of human behavior situated in larger environmental contexts.

    For both novice and experienced researchers, this thought-provoking book opens new ways of thinking about methodology and raises questions about the ethical and justice orientations of our work.



    Part I: Engaging the Ontological Turn

    Chapter 1. A Turn from What?

    Chapter 2. An Overview of Vibrant Materialism

    Chapter 3. Paradigm Changes

    Part II: Methodological Contradictions in Social Science Inquiry

    Chapter 4. Objectivity in Research

    Chapter 5. Instruments of Measurement

    Chapter 6. Beyond Cause and Effect

    Chapter 7. Zombie Categories

    Chapter 8. Data

    Chapter 9. The Crisis of Representation

    Chapter 10. Reflexivity and Its Discontents

    Part III: Diffractive Ethnography

    Chapter 11. A Brief Overview of Ethnography

    Chapter 12. Thinking with Theory

    Chapter 13. Assemblages and Entanglements

    Chapter 14. Diffraction

    Chapter 15. The Liveliness of Matter

    Part IV: Becoming

    Chapter 16. Healing the Nature/Culture Divide

    Chapter 17. The Ethics of Entanglements




    Jessica Smartt Gullion, PhD, is Associate Professor of Sociology at Texas Woman’s University, where she teaches courses in research methods and medical and environmental sociology. Her research focuses on qualitative methodology as a tool for social justice.

    What would happen if social researchers de-centered themselves and humans? How do social scientists tackle important policy issues? These questions are deftly explored by Gullion in a fascinating and timely volume about the ontological turn in the social sciences. Diffractive Ethnography is for social scientists who want to be rid of hierarchies in order to engage deeply in social justice. It is for those of us who want to throw away the tool box, and see what creative new connections we can make across disciplines and ways of being. This is the most exciting book on methodology I have read in years.

    Sandra L. Faulkner, Bowling Green State University, author of Real Women Run