The Professional Stranger, 2nd Edition / Edition 2

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This new edition of a classic introductory text opens with an extensive chapter that brings ethnography up-to-date and aims it toward the next century. At a time when numerous disciplines, organizations, and communities are discovering ethnography, Agar shows how the fundamentals endure even as they adapt to a world unimagined when the research perspective developed more than 100 years ago. Contemporary discussions of ethnography are loaded with choices, primarily "either-or" options. Just as the first edition crossed the qualitative-quantitative divide, the new edition integrates classical scientific notions with new concepts such as narrative and interpretation. Agar updates the contrast between the researcher's apprenticeship to knowledgeable informants and the hypothesis-testing mode that still dominates social science, while demonstrating the complementarity of the two. Drawing extensively from his own research experience, he illustrates the stages of the ethnographic process from inception through the emergence of a focus, and toward a subsequent formalization of methods and analysis. In the process, he illustrates several approaches designed to reconcile the contradictory demands of the scientific process and human behavior.

Analyses the changes in ethnographic studies during the last fifteen years
Outlines the conflict between science and interpretation
Presents the politics of ethnography, both personal and global
Describes the 'new' participant observation
Sheds light on ethno-logic
Includes methods for the non-positive
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Editorial Reviews

A new edition of the introductory graduate level text displaying the fundamentals of ethnographic fieldwork and study while updating its discussions to include new concepts such as narrative and interpretation. Agar (anthropology, U. of Maryland) draws extensively from his own research and uses a colloquial writing style to illustrate the stages of the ethnographic process from inception through the emergence of a focus, the subsequent formalization of methods and analysis, and avenues for several different approaches reconciling the contradictions of the scientific process and human behavior. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780120444700
  • Publisher: Emerald Group Publishing Limited
  • Publication date: 6/21/1996
  • Edition description: REV
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 276
  • Product dimensions: 6.01 (w) x 8.97 (h) x 0.77 (d)

Meet the Author

Michael Agar received his Ph.D. in anthropology at the Language-Behavior Research Laboratory at the University of California, Berkeley. His recent books include Speaking of Ethnography, Independents Declared, and Language Shock. Agar has been doing ethnography for many years with a variety of people including heroin addicts, villagers inSouth India, independent truckers, and Austrian politicians.
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Table of Contents

1 Ethnography Reconstructed: The Stranger at Fifteen 1
2 The Concept of Fieldwork
Reasons for Becoming an Ethnographer 55
Mystique as a Communication Problem 57
Reasons for Worrying about Methods 59
How This Book Was Written 63
A Research Biography 66
3 Getting Started
Picking an Area 73
A Review of the Literature 76
The Network "In" 79
Getting Funds 82
4 Who Are You To Do This?
Personality and Cultural Background 92
Ethnography and Personality 100
Presentation of Self 104
5 Ethnography
The Mainstream 113
Ethnographic Research Differences 119
Goals of Ethnography 127
6 Beginning Fieldwork
Who Talks First 134
Asking Informal Questions 139
Analysis of Informal Interviews 152
Types of Informal Interviews 155
Interviews and Observations 156
Field Notes 161
Ethnographic Goals Revisited 163
7 Narrowing the Focus
Sampling People 168
Sampling Events 173
Distributions 175
The Systematic Test 180
The Formal-Informal Mix 182
The Narrowing Funnel 183
8 Informal to Formal: Some Examples
Simulated Situation 186
Frame Elicitation 187
Hypothetical Situation 197
The Three Methods in Use 198
Systematic-Test Methodology 204
An Examples from Houston 211
Hypothesis-Testing Revisited 218
Coda 220
9 The Ethnographic Research Proposal
Budget 226
Staff 228
The Research Context 229
Human Subjects 231
10 Ethnography in Context
Theory in Ethnography 237
A Language for Culture Theory 240
When Is an Ethnography Not an Ethnography? 241
Accounting for the Accounts 246
The Pragmatic Context 247
Ethnography in Prospect 251
References 253
Index 265
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