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.
In concluding this book I return to some of the themes that I have introduced throughout the text. In particular, let me think again about the general theme of textual reflexivity. As Emilie Whitaker and I have argued, reflexivity in general is a pervasive and inescapable feature of social research (Whitaker and Atkinson 2019). As soon as we undertake research – by whatever methods and using whatever measurement – we affect and shape the phenomena that we seek to describe and understand. Again, I repeat, this is not a trivial matter of unconscious ‘bias’, as there can be no pre-given gold-standard that escapes the nature of reflexivity. Equally, however, the recognition of research reflexivity does not provide licence to ignore all canons ...