Sociology | Topics in Qualitative Methods
S652 | 3920 | Corsaro

S652:     Topics in Qualitative Methods  (3 CR)

Topic:    Ethnography

3920 9:30A - 12:00P R    BH 018

William Corsaro

In this course we will consider ethnography as a method
of social research as routinely practiced in sociology
and anthropology.  Ethnography is both a method and a
theoretical orientation in that one's approach to
ethnography reflects a particular conception of culture
and social structure.  In this course we will
concentrate primarily on more interpretive approaches
to ethnography and culture (as opposed to behavioristic
or cognitive approaches) with a focus on collective
processes of negotiation, action, and interpretive
understanding.  The particular ethnographic methods
will read about, evaluate, employ, and critique are
routinely utilized in a range of research areas in
sociology (as well as anthropology, education,
folklore, and psychology).

A general goal of the course is for the class to engage
or confront a wide range of ethnographic texts (both
actual ethnographic reports and descriptive and
didactic discussions of particular methods) and to
appropriate the advice and wisdom of these texts in a
series of written projects over the course of the
semester.  I will insist that the engagement and
appropriation of these texts will be primarily a
collective process.  I will do some lecturing and
students will be individually responsible for written
reports.  However, I expect students to be prepared to
engage routinely in class discussions.

The one ethnography we will all read for the course is:

Barrie Thorne,  Gender Play: Girls and Boys in School.
New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press, 1993.

Each student will also select and routinely evaluate an
ethnography of their own choice throughout the course.

The other books for the course are:

Charles Briggs, Learning How to Ask:  A Sociolinguistic
Appraisal of the Role of the Interview in Social
Science Research.  New York: Cambridge University
Press, 1986.

Richard Jessor, Anne Colby, and Richard Shweder,
Ethnography and Human Development: Context and Meaning
in Social Inquiry.  Chicago:  University of Chicago
Press, 1996.

Sherryl Kleinman and Martha A. Copp, Emotions and
Fieldwork.  Newbury Park, CA: Sage, 1993.

At least two copies of all other assigned reading will
be available in the Graduate Office of the Department
of Sociology.  The readings will be available at least
two weeks before they are assigned.