The Lost Ethnographies: Methodological Insights From Projects That Never Were Vol: 17

Robin James Smith
Cardiff University, UK

Sara Delamont
Cardiff University, UK

Product Details
07 Jan 2019
Emerald Publishing Limited
192 pages - 152 x 229mm
Studies in Qualitative Methodology
The Lost Ethnographies reports on the methodological lessons learnt from ethnographic projects that, viewed superficially, failed. Experienced researchers write about projects they planned, and were excited about, which then never began, had to be abandoned, or took such unexpected directions that it became a different piece of work altogether. The topics and settings are varied and disparate, but the lessons learnt have important similarities.
This collection focuses on absences; topics and settings that remain under researched; taken for granted aspects of social life that have not been scrutinized, and finally the potential insights that are gained when absences are carefully examined and explored. Readers will learn a great deal about research design, fundraising, writing up, access negotiations, serendipity in the field, and the complex interaction between the body and the brain of the ethnographer and the realities of ethnographic research. Maximising learning from the ‘failings’ of ourselves and of others is the positive message of the collection. The most poignant chapters are those in which the author ‘returns’ to reread and reflect on a past project; something that is not done often enough, partly because it can be painful. The accounts of projects which had to be abandoned or radically changed offer hope to researchers facing difficulties in their own investigations.
These reflections, on projects that were never even begun, show how to gain fresh energy and social science insight from apparent rejection, and the collection approaches the whole concept of lost ethnography in provocative ways.
List of Contributors
1. Periwigs in Prague: The Opera Project We Never Did; Sara Delamont and Paul Atkinson
2. A sociological case of stand-up comedy: Censorship, offensiveness and opportunism; David Calvey
3. The edges and the end: On stopping an ethnographic project, on losing the way; Katie Fitzpatrick
4. Losing the Students in a School Ethnography: Anthropology and the Puzzle of Holism; Martin Forsey
5. Flat Claps and Dengue Fever: A Story of Ethnographies Lost and Found in India; Sally Campbell Galman
6. Losing Bigfoot; Jamie Lewis and Andrew Bartlett
7. What happens when you take your eye off the ball? Reflecting on a 'Lost Study' of Boys' Football, uneven playing fields and the Longitudinal promise of 'Esprit de Corps'; Dawn Mannay
8. Finding The Lost Thing Under The Binds of a Neglected Thesis Cover; Janean Robinson
9. Researching underwater: a submerged study; Susie Scott
10. Remarks from a lost engagement with the engaging ordinariness of parkour; Robin James Smith
11. Exorcising an ethnography in limbo; Katy Vigurs
Robin James Smith is a Senior Lecturer at Cardiff University, UK, where he teaches sociology, ethnomethodology, and qualitative methods. He has published a number of articles from an ethnographic study of outreach work with rough sleepers, on qualitative research methodology, and studies of membership categorisation practices.
Sara Delamont, FAcSS, is Emerita Reader in Sociology at Cardiff University, UK. She was the first woman to be President of the British Educational Research Association (BERA), and has been awarded the Lifetime Service Award of both the British Sociological Association and of BERA. Her most recent books are Embodying Brazil 2017 (with N. Stephens and C. Campos), Fieldwork in Educational Settings (Third edition) 2016, and Key Themes in the Ethnography of Education 2014.

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