Here is a call for papers, a nice reason to see Liverpool in the Fall.

The 5th Annual Joint University of Liverpool Management School and Keele University Institute for Public Policy and Management Symposium on Current Developments in Ethnographic Research in the Social and Management Sciences.

In Association with the Journal Ethnography

Work, Organisations and Ethnography

Wednesday 1st – Friday 3rd September 2010

Queen Mary, University of London. Mile End Road, London, England

Call for Papers

In recent years, ethnography has become an increasingly popular mode of research enquiry within the social and management sciences. In organisation and management studies, areas of interest include ethnographies of new organisational forms, human resource and quality management, performance management, appraisal and information systems, employee-relations, cultural and emotional labour management, job-design, job-satisfaction, employee motivation and morale, employee subjectivity and identity, gender relations, politics and ethics. In the public sector, areas of interest include ethnographies of the nature and impact of organisational change on public service organizations, local authorities, the professions, professional practice and public service provision in local communities. There is also a growing interest in new virtual and media-related ethnographies, art, architecture, consumption, community and ethnicity. The use of ethnography in consumer research, marketing and other commercial contexts is also a growing ethnographic research topic. Other areas of interest relate to fieldwork and practice and the writing of ethnography as emotional labour, the practical, political, ethical and theoretical challenges ethnographers face within the field, the purpose of ethnography and whose interests it serves? Finally, recent debates have asked whether ethnography can or should be „value-free‟ and what actually counts and does not count as „good‟ ethnography given the range of traditional (i.e. naturalist, interpretivist, constructivist, modernist) and more contemporary (i.e. postmodern, poststructuralist and critical) theoretical standpoints which inform how ethnographers choose to approach, conduct and write-up their research.

This symposium brings together established and emerging social and management science scholars with an interest in ethnographic research to explore current trends within the field from a broad range of perspectives.
The symposium will appeal not only to organisation and management academics but also colleagues from sociology, anthropology, human geography, architecture, law, criminology, politics, cultural studies, environmental studies, gender studies and social and public policy. Papers from any of these disciplines, particularly those that examine the role and value of ethnography in social and management teaching and research, are welcome. We are open to theoretically informed or empirically based papers, as well as work-in-progress papers from new and young emerging scholars, in any of the following areas:
– Public and private sector work organisation and work restructuring.
– New organisational forms and changing forms of employment.
– Organisational and workplace cultures and sub-cultures.
– Management-labour relations and trade union practices.
– Accounting, auditing and governance.
– Services-marketing, consumption and consumer behaviour.
– Healthcare, education, local government and social and public policy.
– Ethnographies of conflict, crime and deviance, resistance and misbehaviour (including researcher misbehaviour).
– Business ethics and unethical business and management practices.
– The prospects for shop-floor ethnography in an era characterized by the break-up of traditional forms of shopfloor and trade union organisation.
– Labour process and critical management studies
– The contribution of virtual or new media mediated ethnographies.
– The theoretical and commercial use of ethnography in consumer marketing
– Ethnography, architecture and art.
– Emotions, the management of emotional labour in organisations, and ethnography as emotional labour: dealing with uncertainty, fear, anxiety, stress, insecurity and danger in the field.
We are particular keen to attract papers that consider the political and ethical challenges involved in conducting ethnographic research, as well as papers that contribute to the following streams.


Ethnography and practice based research

Stream convenors: Elaine Eades (University of Liverpool Management School) Aileen Lawless (Liverpool John Moores University) Sally Sambrook (Bangor University)
This stream considers the opportunities and challenges involved in conducting practice-based ethnographic research and „self-ethnography‟. Papers are invited that consider how these variants of ethnography involve a process of starting research from one‟s own experiences, which is not always a major preoccupation apart from particular times when the empirical material is targeted for close scrutiny and writing. Close scrutiny and writing up is an essentially „retrospective‟ process that provides an opportunity for sensemaking, whereby the researcher steps back and questions initial assumptions. This stream provides an opportunity for colleagues to examine joint „sensemaking‟ and to explore the potential for ethnographic research to provide fruitful insights into practice.
Identity and Ethnography: dimensions, transitions, expressions
Stream convenor: Manuela Nocker (University of Essex)
Identity is a popular topic, yet it cannot easily be dismissed as being just a research fad. It speaks to all of us through self-understandings and lived experience. It is as much about the meaning of “Who am I/What are we?” as that of “How should I/ we be or act?” Whilst claiming uniqueness, it emerges both from difference and similarity in the representation of self, others, and otherness.
Papers that examine issues of belonging, recognition and identification with reference to groups, organisation, consumption, spaces and places, history and culture, events, and routines are welcome. Papers that investigate how identity is essentially a dynamic and ongoing process enacted through individual and group practices, behaviour, memories, narratives, and dominant discourses are particularly welcome. The overarching aim is to explore the links between identity and ethnography within the broader realms of the management and social sciences, to deepen our understanding of the nature and multiple expressions of identity, to make sense of its inherent complexity and ambiguities, and to examine its possible tensions as experienced in everyday life by emphasising the situated practices of identity construction, the management of identity, and the performance of identities in different contexts. Along with an attention to the ethics and politics of identity and belonging, this stream also aims to scrutinise the epistemological and methodological base from which ethnographers conceptualise and analyse the „ethnographic self‟, reflexivity and authorial voice.
(Il) legitimacy’ and Ethnographic Research Practices.
Stream convenor: Jason Ferdinand (University of Liverpool Management School)
This stream considers the political and ethical challenges involved in conducting ethnographic research, and the question of (il)legitimacy. The concept and question of (il)legitimacy is multifaceted. It touches all aspects of individual and collective social and organisational behaviour, social encounters and self-identity and subjectivity. What is deemed legitimate, or perceive to be illegitimate, requires consideration of the basis upon which judgements are made. Our understanding and perceptions of things such as government health and social welfare and education policy, foreign policy, governance structures and legal frameworks remain legitimate only as long as they are deemed so by a majority of those they govern. In work organisations, legitimate management power and management control methods, employment conditions and job-design, decision-making and communication and leadership styles are all contingent upon employee consent. Notions of legitimacy also determine social and management science views of the (orthodox or critical) aims and purpose of their research. Research design, methods and practices, codes of ethics, researcher-subject field relations and the theoretical and empirical claims drawn from research all rest on notions of the quality and legitimacy of the means through which research is conducted and the theoretical and conceptual tools used to achieve given research aims.
This stream invites papers that consider whether legitimacy is a concrete or indeterminate and essentially value-laden social construct that like beauty is something that resides „in the eye of the beholder‟. Papers that explore the kinds of social, organisational, political and ideological phenomena upon which legitimacy rest, the socially constructed nature of (il)legitimacy, and the social, cultural, ideological and often political persuasive means through which it gains and sustains its currency in organisations and in research are welcome. Papers that examine topics that are usually considered as illegitimate, such as criminal activity, and papers that do not fit comfortably within pre-existing and established categories of interest are also invited.
Shopfloor Ethnography: The Relevance of ‘Learning to Labour’ (Willis, 1977) Past & Present.
Stream convenors: Matthew Brannan and Frank Worthington
This stream invites papers that examine the politics of production within the context of contemporary shop and office floor condition of employment. Papers that consider the politics of management-labour relations with reference to class, gender, race and emotional labour management issues are welcome. Papers that consider (support or critique) Willis‟ account of the political, social and cultural formations that determine labour‟s everyday lived-experience of work, and its and understanding of its commodity status, position, role and identity in society and places of work are particularly welcome. The overriding aim of this stream is to re-examine Willis‟ depiction of working class counter-cultural opposition, resistance and accommodation to workplace exploitation by considering the use-value and potential relevance, or perceived irrelevance, of Willis‟ Learning to Labour thesis for understanding contemporary class formation, work and organisations, and the application of ethnography to broader emancipatory social and political purposes.

Abstracts (up to 750-words, excluding contact details and references) should be submitted to by Monday 1st of February 2010
Decisions on acceptance of papers will be given by email, subject to external refereeing.
Full papers will need to be submitted by Friday 20th of August 2010.
Only papers submitted to the organizers by this date will be published on the symposium website.
Delegates whose papers are accepted but who are unable to meet this deadline are asked to submit a copy of their paper as soon as possible thereafter and bring 20 photocopies of their paper for circulation at the symposium. All papers presented at the conference will be automatically considered for publication in the Journal Ethnography.
Symposium attendance fees, accommodation and registration
Attendance fee for delegates in full-time employment – £395
Emerging scholars – PhD research students and delegates in part-time employment -£295
The Attendance fee includes:
– symposium proceedings
– daytime refreshments and lunches
– accommodation with full English breakfast on Wednesday 1st and Thursday 2nd of September
– an informal two course dinner on Wednesday 1st September
– formal four course Symposium Gala dinner on Thursday 2nd September
All delegates will have accommodation provided in student study rooms unless they choose to make their own alternative arrangements.
If you wish to book additional nights in the student study accommodation or make alternative arrangements at an additional cost to you information and details of local hotels will be made available on the Ethnography website at a later date.
How to Register:
Delegates wishing register for the Symposium should register and pay online via the Ethnography website.
If you prefer to pay be invoice please contact providing
– a purchase order number from your institutions finance department
– your Institution
– a full postal address
– the amount to be charged
– any special dietary or mobility requirements
Our procedures require all of this information before we can raise an invoice.
When registering please ensure that you select the appropriate fee – reduced (for PhD students/part time employment) or standard (for those in full time employment).
Cancellation Policy:
Delegates requiring a full refund should contact by Wednesday 4th August 2010. After this date refunds will be at the discretion of the organizing committee and should be directed to
Enquiries: Enquiries of an academic nature should be directed to:
Dr Jason Ferdinand (
Dr Frank Worthington (
All other enquires should be directed to where an Event Coordinators Katie or Dawn will respond to you.
We look forward to seeing you at the event in London in September 2010 all information will be updated on

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