The Eyewitness Fallacy: Are Studies of China Best Done in China, or the British Library?

Ethnographers love to travel.They will always assert that travel is necessary to understand a culture.You need to travel, to feel the culture. And without such exposure, we reason that what is written is less valid because it cannot possibly be written with the critical perspective that local context provides.Or as Bronislaw Malinwoski himself once wrote, … Continue reading The Eyewitness Fallacy: Are Studies of China Best Done in China, or the British Library?

“Could be Worse!” Adventures in Maximum Security Prisons and Our Forthcoming Book

     This essay begins in February 2009, and picks up again in November 2011. And now it is going to pick up again in 2016, as I anxiously await the publication of our book "Prison Vocational Education and Policy in the United States: A Critical Perspective on Evidence-based Reform."  The book is authored by … Continue reading “Could be Worse!” Adventures in Maximum Security Prisons and Our Forthcoming Book

Carlos

Late December 2006 This morning, while sitting at one of the tables by the pool visiting with a resident of the complex, I noticed Palm fronds falling from the canopy of green above me. I followed the thwup, thwup, thwup? of a heavy tool beating in the air to the cascade of fronds falling to … Continue reading Carlos

Love, Duty, and Marriage in a Classic Thai Novel

Originally published here at ethnography.com in October 2011. In summer 2011, I had the pleasure of co-teaching a Sociology/English class for American students in Thailand.  One of the real pleasures was using novels to illustrate sociological principles.  It was kind of like profession (sociology) meets hobby (reading novels).  I hope that the students liked it—I certainly did, … Continue reading Love, Duty, and Marriage in a Classic Thai Novel

Ethnography, Stigma, and Protecting a Potentially Spoiled Identity

Originally published here at e.com in April 2007. It's one of my favorites and still makes me laugh out loud, I hope you enjoy it too. -Julie This blog is about why ethnographer Erving Goffman’s observation of stigma are important not just to ex-cons, but also to professors like me on foreign exchange programs. Goffman, … Continue reading Ethnography, Stigma, and Protecting a Potentially Spoiled Identity