Synopses & Reviews
In this eloquently written volume Michael Agar expands the premise set forth in his very popular work The Professional Stranger. Speaking of Ethnography challenges the assumption that conventional scientific procedures are appropriate for the study of human affairs. Agar's work is informed by a hermeneutic and phenomenological tradition, in which he questions the researcher's own taken-for-granted procedures.
Challenging the assumed usefulness of conventional scientific procedures as the most appropriate models for the study of human affairs, author Michael Agar continues the premise set forth in his popular work, The Professional Stranger. Informed by a hermeneutic and phenomenological tradition, Agar's fundamental thrust is that the social investigator's practices and procedures are open to inspection and therefore subject to critical assessment. He places the researcher's own taken-for-granted ways of acquiring knowledge at the center of the research process. The author discusses tradition and ethnography and looks at ethnographic understanding, specifically discussing coherence, breakdown, resolution, inference and schema, and scripts. He explores the ways borrowed ethnographic terms have been used in new contexts and examines ethnographic language and method. Presenting and comparing two examples of such language, he uses the life history of an addict and the world of independent trucking. The author's lively and succinct style makes Speaking of Ethnography highly readable and enjoyable. Teachers, researchers, and students in the fields of sociology, anthropology, evaluation and research methods, education, psychology, management, and organization will find it a thought-provoking work.