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Navigating Between an Emic and Etic Approach in Ethnographic Research. Crucial Aspects and Strategies when Communicating Critical Results to Participants

Journal article
Authors Åsa Bergman
Monica Lindgren
Published in Ethnography and Education
Volume 13
Issue 4
Pages 477-489
ISSN 1745-7823
Publication year 2018
Published at Department of Cultural Sciences
Academy of Music and Drama
Pages 477-489
Language en
Links dx.doi.org/10.1080/17457823.2017.13...
Keywords El Sistema, ethnography, reflexivity, critique, dialogue
Subject categories Educational Sciences, Other Humanities

Abstract

There is a fundamental tension in ethnographic research between trying to understand participants from within their own perspective and viewing them with greater distance. With this in mind, the aim of this article is to describe how a reflexive communication model was developed during the study of El Sistema Gothenburg, and to discuss aspects and strategies that are crucial when navigating between an emic and an etic approach. It is argued that by reflexive communication, researchers can make their results useful for participants and that reflecting upon the relationship is even more important when communicating critique. With the help of this model, communication of critical results was facilitated by the establishment of an integrative approach that combined the insiders’ and outsiders’ perspectives and was based on the formation of a strong relationship between the researchers and the participants, as well as by the participants’ own cultivation of theoretical understanding.

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