Mission Statement of Ethnography.com
We seek to change the way the world thinks about the Social Sciences in general, and Ethnography in particular.
We believe that telling good stories as social commentary is at the heart of what social science should do. We also think that social sciences don’t always do this, which is why we need this blog.
Good stories mean that what is posted here will be accessible to ordinary people, not just those with a PhD. If you want to see what ordinary people are like, see the Ordinary People Project streamed here at Ethnography.com. These are the kind of people we want reading this blog. Our focus is on ethnographic writing (non-fiction and fiction), narratives, reflections, poetry, photography, and artwork intended to attract such an audience. The main point is that it has to be interesting, make a point, and maybe even be funny.
R.I.P. Sociology, R.I.P. Anthropology
We’ve given up on traditional anthropology and sociology which, despite our prescient critiques, remain unresponsive to our entreaties. In our view, much of these disciplines have become tedious and boring, even incestuous. They are also unwilling to publish the type of story-telling and commentary we seek for Ethnography.com.
What do we seek? Please see the books by our Patron Saints above, like Nigel Barley and Annette Lareau and Paul Rabinow. Barley wrote The Innocent Anthropologist, and Lareau wrote Unequal Childhoods and Rabinow wrote Reflections on Fieldwork in Morocco.
Unlike the other people mentioned in this section, some, like Barley and Lareau and Rabinow are alive and writing, presumably somewhere between Pennsylvania, Berkeley, England, Greece, Cameroon, and Borneo. But they all write and have written ethnography at its best— read it, laugh with it, and get a sense of what ‘culture’ really means and how ‘ethnography’ should be done. For this reason, Barley and Lareau and Rabinow and Seremetakis are examples of our living Patron Saints.
Or have a look at the work of our Patron Saints who have gone before. Our academic ancestors include Erving Goffman, W. E. B. DuBois, Zora Neale Hurston, Narong Wongsawan, Alexis de Tocqueville, and Mary Wollstonecraft. All are dead by various causes, but they live through their stories to make broader social points that still apply today. They were really good at this, and none of them were boring. And all told good stories (we already said that).
Finally, we would be remiss if we didn’t mention our own ancient ancestors here at Ethnography.com. Mark Dawson started the blog in 2005 with a red, white, and black design which was used until October 2013. Cynthia van Gilder, Donna Lanclos and others have made important contributions over the years. As long as they don’t stop us, we will continue to highlight their writings on occasion because much of it is indeed timeless.
A New Discipline, a New Social Science
So you first heard it here. Ethnography.com is about nothing less than upending the social sciences in The United States in particular, Europe, and the world in general. We have a mission statement, patron saints, and honored ancestors. Now we need the good writing, film, photos, and other material to spice up this vision. AAA and ASA, you have been warned!
Note Well: The opinions of the authors are entirely their own
While any author will agree that their opinions are shared by all right-thinking people, all opinions are the authors’ own, and not representative of Ethnography.com, the other authors, their respective places of employment, or research funding sources. On the other hand, if more people would just back off and agree with our ideas, the world would be a better place and all known human ills would be eradicated. Or at least, that’s what our “preliminary research indicates.”
If you want to cite us in papers or link to us, please feel free.
Go to the Yale University page to learn how to cite blogs, as an example. The page shows examples of MLA, APA and Chicago styles for citing blogs in an academic paper. If you are linking to us from a webpage, it is fine to just credit the author and embed a link back to the article. Here is one example of how to cite an entry in an academic paper:
Waters, Tony. 2008. “The Battle for Kosovo on the Internet.” Ethnography.com.
[online] URL: http://www.ethnography.com/2008/04/the-battle-for-kosovo-on-the-internet/