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Ethnography: being there with critical perspective

As I dive into reading on ethnography I start understanding better what type of work I’m passionate about. It’s work which is about “being there with critical perspective”.

It’s about understanding how people live, work and do things, better through experiencing and participation. I like first-hands experiences, like exploring a foreign city by myself instead of being on a packaged tour.

But it’s also about not taking things for granted, critical perspective, all those “why?” and “what if?”, as well as comparisions and associations. I guess this is something that brought me into doing research since I wanted more space for reflection and exploration in my work.

So, I’m reading all kinds of things on ethnography, struggling to catch the essence of “how to” next to the spirit of it… So far it’s not easy, so I’m thinking about the reply of John Seely Brown on my innocent question about good way of learning to do ethnographic research. He said that the best way is to learn by working with an experienced ethnographer.

It feels right – learning from paper is so painfully slow, so I’m looking for opportunities to learn from people. Next to looking for possible meeting/doing/learning options which are relatively close I’m thinking along lines of distributed apprenticeship – what if something like that may work?

And, discovering a bibliography on ethnography and a course reading list by Louise Ferguson I kind of regret of not having a time travel machine: now I know what kinds of questions I had to ask when meeting her at BlogWalk/London.

I’d love to have someone more experienced around to help me picking up problems and issues that I can hardly articulate yet and to suggest where to look for solutions…

Archived version of this entry is available at http://blog.mathemagenic.com/2005/02/18.html#a1496; comments are here.

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