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Fuzzy Fields. Multi-sited Ethnography in Sociological Research

abstract Doing participating observation in the "field" is an indispensable characteristic of ethnography. Yet, the problems of constructing a field for ethnographic research attract surprisingly little attention in textbooks and research reports. Sociological ethnography does hardly ever aim at giving holistic representations of clearly bounded (small) groups. It rather focuses on certain theoretically defined aspects of a given culture. Therefore, defining and delineating a field becomes a crucial step in an empirical study. In our article we propose a concept of the field as social world(s) constituted by a set of actors focused on a common concern. With the example of our ongoing research project on exclusion and integration in welfare and economy we argue for a multi-sited approach, which traces its inherently fragmented and multiply situated research object across social worlds. We discuss the problems arising from such a strategy and discuss the function of the field in theory driven sociological ethnography. We contend that multi-sited ethnography is particularly suited for building empirically grounded sociological theories.
   
type journal paper
   
keywords Ethnographie, Forschungsmethoden
   
project Die Durchsetzung des unternehmerischen Selbst - Integration und Ausgrenzung in Unternehmen und sozialstaatlichen Programmen
language English
kind of paper journal article
date of appearance 22-10-2005
journal Forum Qualitative Research, On-line Journal
publisher FQS (Berlin)
ISSN (online) 1438-5627
volume of journal 6
number of issue 3
page(s) 1-13
review external review
   
profile area SHSS - Kulturen, Institutionen, Märkte (KIM)
citation Maeder, C. (2005). Fuzzy Fields. Multi-sited Ethnography in Sociological Research. Forum Qualitative Research, On-line Journal, 6(3), 1-13.