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.

Stories and Parables

Stories and Parables

Ethnography can save us from the endless search for the big stories of grand social theory. It can therefore rescue our texts from a ventriloquist reliance on the words of others to create the semblance of significance. It can also help us towards the creation of stories that reconfigure a social world, articulating it with our analytic interests. The problem with big stories is not simply a postmodernist disdain for grand narratives. It is, rather, the way in which big stories in the social sciences too often stop us from seeing or hearing what is in front of us. The problems are magnified when those big stories are essentially borrowed from elsewhere. There is a very obvious tendency – especially among ...

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