Sociology | Topics in Qualitative Sociology (Ethnography)
S652 | 3715 | 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.
Each student will also select and routinely evaluate an ethnography of
their own choice throughout the course.
The other books required 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 Emerson, Rachel Fretz, and Linda Shaw, Writing Ethnographic
Fieldnotes. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1995.
Katherine Brown Rosier, Mothering Inner City-City Children: The Early
School Years. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press.
The following book is recommended. There will be several required
readings from the book available in the graduate office, but you may
wish to have your own copy:
Richard Jessor, Anne Colby, and Richard Shweder, Ethnography and Human
Development: Context and Meaning in Social Inquiry. Chicago:
University of Chicago Press, 1996.
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.