Ethnography "is not what it used to be": rethinking space, time, mobility, and multiplicity

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Abstract

The ghosts of Malinowski and Geertz still haunt the theory and practice of ethnography. This is despite on-going challenges to their sacred norms and forms and despite major attempts to refresh or design anew ethnography and anthropology. These revenants constantly return, via contemporary traditionalists, to insist that the power of fieldwork is best, or only, derived from long-term immersion and encounter with the natives point of view and thick description in, and of, a single, territorially defined, site or field . Multi-sited ethnography is seen to play fast and loose with such sticklers understanding of space, time and mobility. Those who have taken up the many challenges involved in undertaking multi-sited ethnography have had to fight off the rear-guard assaults of such ghosts ventriloquists. But, as I will show, given the many changes related to space, time, mobility, and the multiplicity associated with contemporary times and theory, ethnography should not still be what it used to be . I will also show how, in our team study called Elite Schools in Globalising Circumstances: A Multi-Sited Global Ethnography, we have been reworking such traditional ethnographic notions of space, time, movement and multiplicity in our research praxis. In so doing I suggest how this approach advances conventional ethnographic studies of elite schools.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMultiPluriTrans in Educational Ethnography: Approaching the Multimodality, Plurality and Translocality of Educational Realities
EditorsSabine Bollig, Michael-Sebastian Honig, Sascha Neumann, Claudia Seele
Place of PublicationBielefeld Germany
PublisherTranscript Verlag
Pages37 - 55
Number of pages19
ISBN (Print)9783837627725
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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