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Organization studies as symmetrical ethnology

Journal article
Authors Barbara Czarniawska
Published in Journal of Organizational Ethnography
Volume 6
Issue 1
Pages 2-10
ISSN 2046-6749
Publication year 2017
Published at Gothenburg Research Institute (GRI)
Pages 2-10
Language en
Keywords Ethnography, Ethnology, Fieldwork, Organization studies, Ostensive, Performative, Symmetry
Subject categories Ethnology, Business Administration


© 2017, © Emerald Publishing Limited.Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to challenge some of the taken for granted assumptions of contemporary ethnographic practice by exploring reasons for fieldwork and the debt that is owed to those in the field. Design/methodology/approach: Exploring traditional and contemporary reasons for fieldwork and comparing ostensive and performative styles of reporting organization studies. Findings: The argument is that traditional ethnographic approaches do not fit contemporary organizing practices. In their place, a “symmetrical ethnology” is proposed. Research limitations/implications: More reflective use of labels and terms. Practical implications: Better communication with practitioners. Social implications: Better dialogue with wider circles. Originality/value: An important and timely critique of ethnography together with a reformulation and a number of suggestions for future practice.

Page Manager: Webmaster|Last update: 9/11/2012

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