Doing Ethnography as a form of collective/co-operative research

SSC scholar, Mike Ward, will be leading a workshop at our AGM on May 11th.

This workshop draws on data from a funded ESRC ethnographic study that explored the lives of a group of young, white, working-class men (aged 16-18) in a socially and economically disadvantaged community. The fieldwork stage of the ethnography explored how these young men performed their masculinities in different ways within different settings. This was conducted through many hours of participant observation, focus group interviews, ethnographic conversations, and more formally recorded one-on-one interviews. Over the research period which spanned two and a half years, multiple sites were visited in order to create a rich ‘thick description’ of their world. These sites including educational institutions, where apart from observing lessons I spent time in canteens, on school trips and in common rooms. Outside these educational sites, I also spent time in social arenas such as pubs, nightclubs, cars, shops, cinemas, and attended live gigs and parties. However, during my time in the field I found that I was confronted with issues that I did not fully expect to encounter. Whilst ultimately the research was being conducted to enable me to gain my doctorate from Cardiff University, without the young men’s support, co-operation and willingness to let me into their lives, I would not have been able to tell their story and highlight the issues they faced. Using examples from my fieldnotes and interview transcripts, in this workshop I want to explore how pieces of data can highlight examples of cooperative research and be analysed in different ways.

Related reading: Erving Goffman (1989) On Fieldwork

At this year’s AGM, we also have talks planned by Mervyn Wilson and Joel Lazarus. All welcome.