Institutional Ethnography


This entry discusses the conceptualization of institutional ethnography (IE) as well as the parameters of employing this methodology. It reviews several previous IE projects in sexuality, health care, education, welfare and work, policy development, home and organizational life. Because an understanding of Dorothy Smith’s ontology of the social which organizes her feminist epistemology—a sociology for people—is important in employing IE, this entry summarizes her ontological and epistemological arguments. In addition, this entry offers potential new directions for IE, including a look at social relations in cyberspace and the potential connection with queer and postcolonial theories.

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