Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Who owns ethnography?: The practitioners of contemporary business ethnography
by McCuistion, Mary Honodel, M.A., San Jose State University, 2008, 207; 1463386
Abstract (Summary)

This project is a study of qualitative researchers who practice what is known as "ethnography" within industry and business. Although it has been considered a deliverable within anthropology, it has been increasingly adopted by anthropologists and researchers from other fields as an investigative process. In this incarnation, "ethnography" primarily involves in situ interviewing and participant observation. Anthropologists have made the case that since the quality of the product depends on the background and training of the researcher, practitioners who have no theoretical grounding hurt the profession. Employers are left with little information about what ethnography is and what it can offer. The study is composed of data from participant observations from two companies employing ethnographers and anthropologists on their research staff, work done as a principal investigator for another firm, sixteen interviews with practitioners, four interviews with employers, and mining an online practitioner group. Much of the tension can be traced to a lack of definitions and metrics. Since it is unclear what ethnography is and what ethnographers do, until practitioners reach a consensus about praxis, it will be impossible to create standards that might help define who can and cannot be considered an ethnographer.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: English-Lueck, J.A.
School: San Jose State University
School Location: United States -- California
Source: MAI 47/05M, Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Cultural anthropology, Marketing
Publication Number: 1463386
ISBN: 978-1-109-07637-0
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