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Scientific Approach To Ethnography Analysis

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Ethnography is a methodology which is used scientifically to describe individual cultures and the people-hood within these cultures. Spradley (1979) describes culture as “the acquired knowledge that people use to interpret experience and generate social behaviour” (p. 5). Ethnography is a holistic and inductive method for studying people, places and processes (Creswell, 1994; Lincoln Guba, 1985) which has a long history in the social sciences. It is most commonly associated with anthropology but also has deep roots within sociology (Bernard, 2002). With regard to its inductive meaning, researchers ‘do’ ethnography in an attempt to capture through description, experience and analysis, the bottom-up, lived experience of individuals (Agar, 1996;…show more content…
During the early 1920’s, the Polish-born British anthropologist Bronislaw Malinowski (1884-1942) developed and described an intensive, participatory, scientific approach to ethnographic fieldwork, insisting that social practices be understood in terms of their larger social context and asserting that the aim of ethnography is to come to know “the native’s point of view” (Malinowski 1922:25; Macdonald 2001). Since Malinowski, British ethnography has gone through periods of consolidation, consensus, incorporation of new approaches and self-criticism, the latter consisting of discussions about anthropologists’ apparent complicity with colonialism, the exclusion of women’s voices, the relative importance of ethnographic practice over written text (Macdonald 2001) and a critique of methodological trends within ethnography that threatens to diminish its character as a social science (Hammersley…show more content…
The range of subjects for these investigations is broad, including child welfare (Aarre, 1998; de Montigny, 1995), homelessness (Connolly 2005; Desjarlais, 1997; Wagner, 1993), drugs in the urban context (Bourgois, 2002) rural community life (Christensen, Hockey and James, 1998), individuals with disabilities (Davies, 1998), substance abuse (Alverson, Alverson and Drake, 2001), treatment for drug dependency (Carr, 2006; Skoll, 1992) and the effects of the policy of deinstitutionalization for those with chronic mental illness (Rhodes, 1991;Townsend, 1998; Weinberg,
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