From Notes To Narrative: Writing Ethnographies That Everyone Can Read

Paperback | May 10, 2016

byKristen Ghodsee

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Ethnography centers on the culture of everyday life. So it is ironic that most scholars who do research on the intimate experiences of ordinary people write their books in a style that those people cannot understand. In recent years, the ethnographic method has spread from its original home in cultural anthropology to fields such as sociology, marketing, media studies, law, criminology, education, cultural studies, history, geography, and political science.  Yet, while more and more students and practitioners are learning how to write ethnographies, there is little or no training on how to write ethnographies well.

 From Notes to Narrative picks up where methodological training leaves off.  Kristen Ghodsee, an award-winning ethnographer, addresses common issues that arise in ethnographic writing. Ghodsee works through sentence-level details, such as word choice and structure. She also tackles bigger-picture elements, such as how to incorporate theory and ethnographic details, how to effectively deploy dialogue, and how to avoid distracting elements such as long block quotations and in-text citations. She includes excerpts and examples from model ethnographies. The book concludes with a bibliography of other useful writing guides and nearly one hundred examples of eminently readable ethnographic books.

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Ethnography centers on the culture of everyday life. So it is ironic that most scholars who do research on the intimate experiences of ordinary people write their books in a style that those people cannot understand. In recent years, the ethnographic method has spread from its original home in cultural anthropology to fields such as so...

Kristen Ghodsee is professor of gender and women’s studies at Bowdoin College and a former Guggenheim Fellow in Anthropology and Cultural Studies. She is the author of five books, most recently Lost In Transition: Ethnographies of Everyday Life after Communism and The Left Side of History: World War II and the Unfulfilled Promise of Co...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:160 pages, 8.5 × 5.5 × 0.5 inPublished:May 10, 2016Publisher:University of Chicago PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:022625755X

ISBN - 13:9780226257556

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Extra Content

Table of Contents

Introduction: Why Write Clearly?

1.         Choose a Subject You Love
2.         Put Yourself into the Data
3.         Incorporate Ethnographic Detail
4.         Describe Places and Events
5.         Integrate Your Theory
6.         Embrace Dialogue
7.         Include Images
8.         Minimize Scientism
9.         Unclutter Your Prose
10.       Master Good Grammar and Syntax
11.       Revise!
12.       Find Your Process

Conclusion
Acknowledgments
Notes

Suggested Reading and Bibliography
Index

Editorial Reviews

“Thank you, Kristen Ghodsee, for offering an absolutely essential guide to ethnographic writing. I fervently hope From Notes to Narrative will be read by every aspiring ethnographic writer, and, most of all, that its lessons will be put into practice. I can’t wait to read the books that will come from this book!”