1st Edition

Mindful Ethnography Mind, Heart and Activity for Transformative Social Research

By Marjorie Faulstich Orellana Copyright 2020
    186 Pages 4 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    186 Pages 4 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Ethnography, with all its limitations, has as its strongest impulse the quest to see and understand “others” on their own terms and to step out of our own viewpoints in order to do so. Conjoining ethnography with mindfulness, this book aims to support the best aspects of ethnography by enhancing the capacity to listen more deeply, see more expansively, keep a check on our biases and connect more compassionately with others.

    Mindful Ethnography addresses a central dilemma of ethnography: the relationship of self and other. It suggests ways of viewing the world from different perspectives, getting beyond the categories of our culture and working with our own thoughts and feelings even as we aim to understand those of our participants. Chapters address various stages of ethnographic research: entering a field and seeing it for the first time, immersing in ongoing participant observation, writing up elaborated fieldnotes, analysis, the re-presentation of results and letting it go. It offers illustrations and activities for researchers to try.

    The book is aimed at students and researchers who are stepping into the craft of ethnography or looking for new ways in and through ethnographic research. It is for researchers who want to integrate scholarship, social activism and spiritual pursuits in order to do research that is deeply engaged with and transformative of the world.


    List of Figures and Boxes



    Chapter 1: Conceptual Framings: Ethnography, Epistemology, Mindfulness and Non-Duality

    Interlude I: Holding the Weight of the Analytical Mind Lightly

    Chapter 2: Entering the Field with Open Heart and Mind

    Interlude II: Feeling the "Suchness" of a Space

    Chapter 3: Getting In and Along: Connecting with Clarity and Compassion

    Interlude III: Revisiting a City Corner

    Chapter 4: Being there Now, Again: Writing Up Field Notes

    Interlude IV: Pause

    Chapter 5: Analysis: Let it Settle Itself

    Interlude V: On the Writing of this Book

    Chapter 6: Re-Presentations

    Interlude VI: Meditations on Writing: Connecting Mind, Heart and Earth

    Chapter 7: Letting Go


    Marjorie Elaine Faulstich Orellana is a professor in the Graduate School of Education and Information Studies at UCLA, the associate director of the Center for the Study of International Migration and the director of faculty for the Teacher Education Program. Her ethnographic research centers on immigrant youth in urban schools and communities.