MY426 Half Unit
This information is for the 2012/13 session.
Optional on MSc Social Research Methods, MSc Social Policy (Research), MSc Gender (Research), MSc Human Geography and Urban Studies (Research), MSc Development Studies (Research). Also available as an outside option to other MSc students with permission of the teacher responsible.
A postgraduate qualitative research methods course, such as MY421, as pre- or co-requisite. Familiarity with notions of research design in the social sciences, to the level of MY400 or equivalent.
Doing ethnography, particularly through participant observation enables us to examine how social order is produced as people go about their everyday interactions. Multiple sources of naturally-occurring data are used to understand how communities, organisations and institutions work, informally as well as formally. Contemporary conditions of globalisation, individualisation, bureaucratisation and digitisation introduce new challenges for such fieldwork. This interdisciplinary course equips students with a practical understanding of how to do, and to think about, contemporary ethnography. Core conceptual, ethical and methodological debates are introduced through in-depth engagement with book-length exemplars, and through students' experience of fieldwork. Fieldwork is a key component of the course, with data collection at a local public institution (interesting sites are chosen each year, e.g. the Occupy encampment at St Pauls, a busy train station), followed by data analysis and presentation workshops. Methodological concerns regarding case selection, establishing rigour, reflexivity, representing others, and ethical issues are addressed in detail. Practical issues addressed include access to study sites, studying elite and marginalised groups, innovative sources of data, and writing field notes. Emphasising that ethnography relies on the researcher-as-research-instrument, the course aims to develop students' sensitivity and rigour as ethnographic researchers.
8 x two-hour lectures and 8 x one-hour seminars in the LT, 2 x three-hour fieldwork workshops in LT.
An excerpt of field-notes from the field visit undertaken as part of the course (up to 2,500 words). Field-notes should record rich details of observations (the data) and brief interpretations of the significance of these observations. Written feedback will be provided.
Bourgois, P. & Schonberg, J. (2009). Righteous Dopefiend. University of California Press. Chapter 1 available here: http://www.ucpress.edu/book.php?isbn=9780520254985
DeWalt, K. M., & DeWalt, B. R. (2002). Participant observation: A guide for fieldworkers. AltaMira Press.
Emerson, R. M., Fretz, R. I., & Shaw, L. L. (1995). Writing ethnographic fieldnotes. University of Chicago Press.
Hammersley, M., & Atkinson, P. (2007). Ethnography: Principles in practice. Taylor & Francis.
Wacquant, L. (2004) Body and Soul: Ethnographic Notebooks of an Apprentice Boxer. New York: Oxford University Press
One 4,000 word essay (100%).