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Methods from the Inside

Methods from the Inside, Friday May 25, from 12.30-3 in MY305

This workshop, led by Prof. Brigitte Bönisch-Brednich and myself, will encourage reflection on the inductive nature of ethnographic methods. We will consider the ways in which ethnographic methods often emerges from within scenes of research rather than proceeding according to our neatly organized research designs proposed prior to entering the field. During the workshop we will think about blockages, hunches, and intuitive methods. We will consider how we deconstruct given methods and transform them to suit our needs and the specificities of our fieldsites. We will then describe and name the sorts of methods we actually engaged in to make our research happen.

We ask that participants bring with them a piece of writing of no more than 1000 words that thickly describes an impasse, blockage, or hurdle they have encountered in their present or past research. Do not analyse the impasse, rather write about it in close detail: What was the sticking point? Where did it emerge from? What was being slowed or prevented? How did it make you feel? You might also consider the limits of an existing methodological approach—interviews, survey methods, participant observation—when your specific research pushed that practice beyond its limits.

Building from your writing, we will then break into small groups to share and discuss these scenes in the aim of using them to remap, rename, and remake our methods to suit our own needs. Our aim here is both to interrogate the methods that we actually use to produce knowledge and to generate a diverse lexicon for naming these kinds of inductive approaches to knowledge production.

In order for us to take advantage of the time we have together we ask that you come prepared with a 1000 word narrative of your methodological quandary. The writing is a necessary starting point for our conversation, but it needn’t be a final draft or perfectly thought through. Just write something down so you have a basis to begin the reflection.

So we can get a sense of the size of the workshop, please RSVP to confirm your attendance by May 22.