Free Essay: How Far Is It Possible To Set Criteria for Experimental Ethnographic Writing?

Published: 2022-12-02
Free Essay: How Far Is It Possible To Set Criteria for Experimental Ethnographic Writing?
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories: Ethnography
Pages: 6
Wordcount: 1385 words
12 min read

Ethnography merely is the study of social interaction and culture groups, and whether these groups are stated as communities, societies, teams or organizations. However, ethnographic research takes a cultural lens to the study of people's lives within their communities. The history of ethnography lies merely in the anthropological studies which majorly focus on the studying social as well as cultural aspect s of the small communities (Boellstorff et al. 2012,p.33) Hence. Currently, the field sites of the ethnographic experiment can be carried out anywhere including familiar settings. The ethnographic experiment can also take place in various types of the communities which include the formal as well as the informal organizations, for instance, urban communities, fan clubs, workplaces, shopping centers, trade fares, and social media. Moreover, the main aim of the ethnographic experiment is to observe and also help in analyzing how individuals interact with one another and with their environment to understand their culture effectively. Hence, this particular paper will study how far is it possible to set criteria for experimental ethnographic writing.

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James Spradley and David McCurdy anthropologist argued that a good writer is also a good ethnographer. Ethnographic writing challenges to consider everything that is interesting and also difficult about writing. It also pushes on to generate, collect, analyze, and synthesize more materials than one can probably have to work with on a single paper before (Marechal & Linstead 2010,p.54). Since ethnographies are just about the actual people; the assignment will make one thinks of the ethics for example how one is presenting the information, how that information might affect people if in any case it's made public, and also being as accurate as you can. It also involves knowledge for instance what you know at the end of the experiment and how you can present the experience without sounding more confident than you should.

According to Marechal & Linstead (2010), ethnography is concerned with displaying the textual strategies which are applied in the traditional kinds of the ethnographic writings (49). He studies; the sorts of the description which the ethnographers provide, how theses description relies on the background knowledge more so on the parts of the readers; the construction of the characters as well as their relation to social types. Therefore, the roles of title and subtitle; the opportunity to use data extracts in the texts which are a way that many voices are introduced; the structure of the narrative recounting the biography of research projects as well as the course of the events in certain settings. Lastly, the steps in which ethnographic texts commonly structured involving the assumptions on the gender as well as the uses irony (Marechal & Linstead 2010, p.44).

According to Maynard & CmannTaylorahn (2010), the theme here is majorly the tension between the rhetoric forms and the complexity of the social life which is available to the ethnographers for the sole purpose of representing it (54). Maynard considers the various ways in which the fields of ethnographer's researches are textually constructed, the several genres of ethnography, the writing of field notes as well as the transcription of the audio recordings, and some of the experimental textual strategies which are currently being explored.

Moreover, the illuminating analysis of the rhetoric strategies as used by the sociologist in their writings majorly adopts a perspective cognitive aesthetics where both the humanities and also the sciences are adequately presented as a concerned with the making paradigms where the experiences become intelligible (LeCompte & Schensul 2010,p.39). LeCompte and Schensul argue that the choice among the standard is not necessarily based on the judgment of falsity or truth but taste; however, he insisted that there are cannon of taste. Moreover, he seeks a reminder of the book to document the sociologist use of certain paradigm, for instance, their adoption of various points of view based on the phenomena they specifically describe.

However, the article by the title on ethnographic authority seeks to examine the realism of the conventional anthropological ethnography thus criticizing it basically for hiding the process by which the accounts are made, and also for defining the reality individual studied from a western viewpoint which is usually disguised as an objective (Davies 2012,p.37). On the other hand, the constructed, as well as the negotiated character of the ethnographic research, is mostly emphasized about its political role and context. Davies advocates for a collaborative ethnography and texts which are open-ended and multi-vocal.

Specific concerns with the ethnographic writing originated as a result of the symbolic anthropology of which is a major exponent. According to (Boellstorff et al. 2012,p.26) examines the contrasting rhetorical styles which are used by various prominent anthropologists: Evans- Pritchard, Benedict, Levi-Strauss, and Malinowski. Hence, in the context of the conflict about the accuracy of the whites' street corner society, Boellstorff et al., questions the possibility of the representation as well as the functions that the representational account perform.

According to Boylorn (2013), views writing culture from a feminist perspective. He argues that the new form of the anthropology that the volume represents marginalized women as well as feminism (27). Thus he questions the distinction between the experimental and conventional ethnography; he denies that this is significant as that between nonfeminist and feminist work. He looked at what the feminist anthropologist can merely learn from the analyses of the ethnographic rhetoric.

According to Scarduzio et al. (2011) identifies three types of ethnographic writing and the conventional that governs that is used to govern them (23). For instance, realist tales involves the complete absence of author from the text, events, and scenes being described as they are. Secondly, in confession tales, the ethnographer is center stage for instance what is explained in the story of the research itself. Usually, such accounts take the form of unassuming and modest reports of the struggles and problems of the fieldworker majorly with a happy ending. Lastly, there is what Scarduzio calls impressionist tales. In this case, the poetic or even literally effect is primary enabling the author to exaggerate to make a point. It's also suggested that impressionist tales may at one point represent the contemporary world more effectively more than realist account and since the narrative ingenuity on the part of the ethnographers should be inspired (Maynard, & CmannTaylor Hahn, 2010,p.15).

According to Lutzhoft et al. (2010) identifies the dominant genre in the anthropology as ethnographic realism by listing its characteristics conventional and also examining the textual strategies that the ethnographers usually use in establishing their authority within this specific genre (35). Both the claims that the explicit self-reflection nowadays does not guarantee authenticity hence do a pose of detachment. According to Scarduzio et al. (2011) argues that despite the appearance as representations, ethnographies work majorly through the references and allusion to most texts (28). There is also a question of the legitimacy of dialogical presentations which suggests that, like the realist accounts, there is an involvement of pretense of representation. Moreover, instead, there is a recommendation of a postmodernist, allegorical that evokes rather than represents.

Greenhalgh and Swinglehurst (2011), considers ethnographic realism as well as criticism from critical theory (21). There are also various interpretations of the concept of authenticity which are identified by Boylorn who challenges some group of writers in the field of anthropology for simply adopting an idealist position and also not bothering to show how the study of rhetoric can lead to a radical reorientation of the ethnography. Moreover, ethnographic realism by being an explicit application of realistic fictional rhetoric majorly considers the possibility of leading to using the resources of literal realism for some critical purposes (Boylorn 2013, p.27). Thus, rejects the formalistic experimentation in favor of ethnographic writing which self consciously identifies itself within its socio-historical situation.


Boellstorff, T., Nardi, B., Pearce, C. and Taylor, T.L., 2012. Ethnography and virtual worlds: A handbook of the method. Princeton University Press.

Boylorn, R.M., 2013. Black girl blogs, auto/ethnography, and crunk feminism. Liminalities: A Journal of Performance Studies, 9(2), pp.73-82. Retrieved from

Davies, C.A., 2012. Reflexive Ethnography: A guide to researching selves and others. Routledge.

Greenhalgh, T. and Swinglehurst, D., 2011. Studying technology use as social practice: the untapped potential of ethnography. BMC Medicine, 9(1), p.45. Retrieved from

LeCompte, M.D. and Schensul, J.J., 2010. Designing and conducting ethnographic research: An introduction (Vol. 1). Rowman Altamira.

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