Written by a leading authority, Thinking Ethnographically discusses a wide range of analytic ideas that can and should inform ethnographic analysis. In introducing the notion of “granular ethnography” it argues for an approach to qualitative research that is sensitive to the complexities of everyday social life. A much-needed antidote to superficial research and analysis, the text deals not merely with the practical methods of fieldwork, but with the far more ambitious enterprise of turning ethnographic data into productive ideas and concepts. Author Paul Atkinson enables us not merely to do ethnography, but truly to think ethnographically. His book will prove invaluable to students and researchers across the social sciences.

Language and Performance

Introduction

By any criteria, for all social scientists undertaking ethnographic analysis, language should matter. That is, we should pay proper attention to the many forms of spoken activity that accomplish social life and are conducted in accordance with shared conventions. This general observation should be self-evident. Sociology, anthropology and related disciplines share common ground in recognising that language is not a transparent medium of communication. It has its own forms, textures and functions. So we need to analyse some of the culturally shaped ways in which language is used in context. In the course of this chapter, therefore, I shall outline just some of those culturally significant ways in which such language use matters to ethnographers. We need, in other words, to ...

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