This original and authoritative exploration of ethnographic writing comes from one of the world's leading academics in the field, Paul Atkinson. The third book in his seminal quartet on ethnographic research, it provides thoughtful, reflective guidance on a crucial skill that is often difficult to master. Informed throughout by extracts from Paul’s own writing, this book explores and examines a broad range of types and genres of ethnographic writing, from fieldnotes and ‘confessions’, to conventional ‘realist’ writing and more. Whilst highlighting the possibilities and implications of ethnographic text, this valuable resource will help those conducting ethnographic research select and adopt the most appropriate approach for their study.

Reflections and Confessions

Reflections and Confessions

In this chapter I discuss some of the textual types that I am glossing as ‘reflections’. In the first part of the chapter, I examine texts that are closely related to the fieldnotes and other materials discussed in the previous chapter. In many ways they parallel those texts of the field. Here, therefore, I gather together the kinds of writing that allow us to explicate our engagement with the field, our responses to it and our personal, even emotional, responses. While such texts are, in themselves, part of the overall ethnographic project, and are not normally for publication in themselves, there are also published texts in which fieldworkers recount some of those kinds of experiences. They are conveniently referred to as ...

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