NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
ERIC Number: ED318026
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1990-Apr
Pages: 35
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
The Ethnographic Dilemma.
Aptekar, Lewis
A dilemma faces the ethnographer whose discipline forces the creation of an objective text from an intimate participatory experience. There have been three ways in which ethnographers have attempted to solve the dilemma of producing the objectivity of a scientific text while acknowledging their presence in the field. The first approach is the disembodied ethnography which is based on denial. The second way is via the self-indulgent ethnography. In this approach, the author is at center stage making the impact of his presence the main ingredient of the document. The third approach is the disjointed ethnography in which the ethnographer acts as a middle man separating the subject's voice and the author's voice. The inadequacy of these approaches comes from two problems. First, the dual role of friendships and informants causes emotional strain which results in the ethnographer becoming a trickster promising not to lie, but never telling the whole truth. Second, ethnographers--in the way they choose topics, in the manner they collect, record, and categorize data, and in the final form of the document--make choices which are a product of selective memory. The clinical ethnography (CE), a type of ethnography that combines the self-reflective honesty associated with clinical psychology, the stringency of scientific observation, and the writing skills of narrative essayists, can be a means of solving the enthnographic dilemma. Clinical ethnography accepts, as a legitimate outcome of its work, provocations instead of conclusions. (Fifteen endnotes and 25 references are attached.) (MG)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A