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Reading Ethnographies

Ethnography (the description of a social context) involves both fieldwork, and writing about it - a process recently subject to intense debate and critique. We examine the tensions between fieldwork, the crafting of the text (the ethnography), and its reception within the discipline of anthropology. Following the `writing culture' debate, we aim to understand how ethnographers `construct' data, frame their analysis, and produce a text. We examine ethnographic `realism' as a style, how styles have changed over time, and how differently some researchers have written about the same culture area. The course will heighten students' critical skills and their awareness of how any representation of social reality has been put together.

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