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.

Fictions and Performances

Fictions and Performances


Lately there has been increasing emphasis on overtly ‘literary’ forms of ethnographic composition. The celebration of blurred genres has weakened former symbolic boundaries between factual ethnography and fictional compositions. It might be thought, therefore, that ‘ethnographic fiction’ is a relatively new phenomenon, a manifestation of contemporary experimentation with modes of representation. Its prominence is recent, but it is not novel in itself. In fact it dates back to the earliest years of ethnographic fieldwork. Here I am not referring to novels that reflect a spirit of social investigation. The traditions of realist and naturalistic fiction are replete with investigative writing that exposes the social problems of their time. In this chapter I shall consider two closely related topics: ethnographic fiction and ...

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