Narratives of irony and failure in ethnographic work

  • Jemielniak D
  • Kostera M
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Abstract

Organizational ethnography is one of the most valued approaches to qualitative studies of organizations. Much attention has been given to the development of the research process, of which the researcher’s identity is an integral part. However, we believe that the analysis of research failures has been much less developed in the discourse of ethnographic methods for the study of organizations. Therefore, we have explored some of the “slips” in ethnographic work, as described in accounts of fellow organizational anthropologists. As the study is qualitative, we have adopted a narrative research method. We have divided the “slips” (i.e., errors) into four categories important for the ethnographer’s identity: (a) one’s role; (b) one’s project, (c) one’s relation to “the Other”; and (d) the social context of the slip.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Academic archetypes
  • Anthropological methods
  • Methodological mistakes
  • Organizational ethnography
  • Qualitative methods

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