First published in 1990, The Ethnographic Imagination explores how sociologists use literary and rhetorical conventions to convey their findings and arguments, and to 'persuade' their colleagues and students of the authenticity of their accounts. Looking at selected sociological texts in the light of contemporary social theory, the author analyses how their arguments are constructed and illustrated, and gives many new insights into the literary convention of realism and factual accounts.
1. Introduction: ethnography as method and as genre 2.Ethnography and the poetics of sociology 3. Ethnography and the poetics of authoritative accounts 4. Ethnography and the representation of reality 5. Voices in the text: exemplars and the poetics of ethnography 6. Narrative and the represnetation of social action 7. Character and type: the textual construction of actors 8. Difference, distance, and irony 9. Conclusion: textual possibilities