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Critical Ethnography

Critical Ethnography
Method, Ethics, and Performance

Third Edition

February 2019 | 272 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc

 What is critical ethnography? How do we use theory to interpret research data? What is performance ethnography? Readers can find answers to these fundamental questions in D. Soyini Madison's engaging and highly multidisciplinary Third Edition of Critical Ethnography: Methods, Ethics, and Performance

The book presents a fresh new look at critical ethnography by emphasizing the significance of ethics and performance in the art and politics of fieldwork. The productive links between theory and method are celebrated in this title. Theoretical concepts range from queer theory, feminist theory, and critical race theory to Marxism and phenomenology. The methodological techniques range from designing and asking in-depth interview questions and developing rapport to coding and interpreting data. The various theories and methods culminate in three fictional ethnographic case studies that "enact" the interdependence between theory and method and the significance of social theory, ethics, and performance.

Key Features:

  • Cutting-edge approach and perspective: It is the first book to explore and focus on the intersections between theory, fieldwork methods, performance, and praxis.
  • Global examples and material: Theories, methods, and examples are drawn from scholarship that extends beyond the West to include developing world and post-colonial thinkers and practitioners.
  • Effective pedagogy: Examples of ethnographic projects illustrate more abstract or complex discussions and concepts.

Critical Ethnography reaches out to any student conducting field research. In particular, upper-division undergraduate and graduate students taking courses in ethnography, qualitative research methods, critical/cultural research methods, or advanced research methods will find this book to be of great value.

Chapter 1 • Introduction to Critical Ethnography: Theory and Method
Defining Terms: What Is the Critical in Critical Ethnography?  
Dialogue: Virtues and Challenges  
The Method and Theory Nexus  
Key Terms  
Chapter 2 • Methods: “Do I Really Need a Method?” A Method . . . or Deep Hanging Out?
“Who Am I?” Starting Where You Are  
“Who Else Has Written About My Topic?” Being a Part of an Interpretive Community  
The Power of Purpose: Bracketing Your Subject  
Preparing for the Field: The Research Design and Lay Summary  
The Interview  
Formulating Questions  
Questions to Get Started: Experience, Opinions, Feelings, and the Senses  
Creativity, Questions, and Three Favorites  
Memory and the Oral History Interview  
Rapport: How and What Is This Between Us?  
Coding and Logging Data  
A Biomimetics of Ethnography  
Chapter 3 • Three Stories: Case Studies in Critical Ethnography
Case 1: Local Activism in West Africa  
Case 2: Secrets, Sexuality, and Oral History  
Case 3: Community Theatre: Conflicts and Organization  
Chapter 4 • Ethics
Ethics Is . . .  
Ethics, Faith, and Environmental Activism  
The Question of Freedom  
Maria Lugones: Contemporary Ethics, Ethnography, and Loving Perception  
Chapter 5 • Methods and Application: Three Case Studies in Ethical Dilemmas
Case 1: Local Activism in West Africa  
Case 2: Secrets, Sexuality, and Oral History  
Case 3: Community Theatre: Conflicts and Organization  
Chapter 6 • Performance and Performed Ethnography
Foundational Concepts in Performance and Social Theory  
Utopian Performatives  
The Performance Interventions of Dwight Conquergood  
Staging Ethnography as Performed Ethnography  
Autoethnography and/or Reflexive Ethnography  
Autoethnography in Performance as Critical Reflections  
Chapter 7 • It’s Time to Write: Writing as Performance
Getting Started: In Search of the Muse  
The Anxiety of Writing: Wild Mind and Monkey Mind  
Writing as Performance and Performance as Writing  
Chapter 8 • The Case Studies
Case 1: Staging Cultural Performance  
Case 2: Oral History and Performance  
Case 3: Fieldwork and Social Drama  
About the Author

Critical Ethnography is, without question, the go-to guide, practically and philosophically, for anyone interested in serious discussions about ethnography's ethical, political, and epistemological implications.  Madison's thoughtful and compelling book has long been central to the ways in which I work with my graduate students and undergraduates on the benefits and challenges of thinking ethnographically, and this 3rd edition makes her classic offering all the more relevant for newer audiences.  I look forward to assigning it in courses!”

John L. Jackson, Jr
University of Pennsylvania

“This remains the book I wish I had written. It is grounded in fieldwork and theoretically inclusive from Conquergood to Turner, Spry to Schechner, Pollock to Pelias, Boal to Bakhtin, auto ethnography to critical performance ethnography. Politics, ethics, action, memory, biopolitics, performative writing, the global, inquiry as praxis, it is all here.”

Norman Denzin
University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

“This book is indispensable.  No other book shows the essential connections between method and ethics so clearly and effectively.  It is as much an essential introduction to ethnography as it is an enticing invitation to a way of being in the world with others.”

Della Pollock

“D. Soyini Madison’s work is the keystone of ethical performance ethnography where all practices in the field and on the stage are grounded in enfleshed theories of embodiment.  The third edition of Critical Ethnography continues this scholarly foundation by offering emergent strategies to guide us through troubling times and into spaces and places of hope and possibilities.”

Tami Spry
St. Cloud State University

“The latest edition of Critical Ethnography exemplifies D. Soyini Madison¹s exemplary ability to combine rigorous theorizing and principled field pragmatics. From its expansive discussions of ethics and handling difficult interviews to its deeply generative examinations of mindfulness in the field and multi-sensory storytelling using a variety of aesthetic modes, this book is an essential guide for critical interdisciplinary qualitative researchers at all levels. It is both a toolkit and an inspiration.”

Judith Hamera
Princeton University

D. Soyini Madison

D. Soyini Madison is professor of Performance Studies and Anthropology, and served as Interim Director of the Program in African Studies at Northwestern University. She is the author of Acts of Activism: Human Rights as Radical Performance (2010, Cambridge UP) and the co-editor with Judith Hamera of the SAGE Handbook of Performance Studies (2006, SAGE). Madison lived in West Africa as a Senior Fulbright Scholar and has conducted field research over the past ten years on the performance tactics of local human rights activists in Ghana. More About Author

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ISBN: 9781483356778