The Professional Stranger

The Professional Stranger : An Informal Introduction to Ethnography

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This new edition of a classic introductory text opens with an extensive chapter that brings ethnography up-to-date and aims it toward the next century. At a time when numerous disciplines, organizations, and communities are discovering ethnography, Agar shows how the fundamentals endure even as they adapt to a world unimagined when the research perspective developed more than 100 years ago. Contemporary discussions of ethnography are loaded with choices, primarily "either-or" options. Just as the first edition crossed the qualitative-quantitative divide, the new edition integrates classical scientific notions with new concepts such as narrative and interpretation. Agar updates the contrast between the researcher's apprenticeship to knowledgeable informants and the hypothesis-testing mode that still dominates social science, while demonstrating the complementarity of the two. Drawing extensively from his own research experience, he illustrates the stages of the ethnographic process from inception through the emergence of a focus, and toward a subsequent formalization of methods and analysis. In the process, he illustrates several approaches designed to reconcile the contradictory demands of the scientific process and human behavior. It analyses the changes in ethnographic studies during the last fifteen years. It outlines the conflict between science and interpretation. It presents the politics of ethnography, both personal and global. It describes the 'new' participant observation. It sheds light on ethno-logic. It includes methods for the non-positive.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 276 pages
  • 152 x 229 x 20mm | 472g
  • Academic Press Inc
  • Bingley, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 2nd edition
  • 0120444704
  • 9780120444700
  • 767,330

Table of contents

Ethnography Reconstructed: The Stranger at Fifteen. The Concepts of Fieldwork. Getting Started. Who Are You to Do This? Ethnography. Beginning Fieldwork. Narrowing the Focus. Informal to Formal: Some Examples. The Ethnographic Research Proposal. Ethnography in Context.
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Review quote

"Agar's writing is lively and informal. He conveys the excitement of his subject while candidly sketching some of the ambiguities and problems that will challenge future ethnographers." --CHOICE "An intriguing and exciting little book... The range of methodological issues covered by Agar is impressive and thorough. Moreover, although he writes primarily for students in anthropology, Agar weaves into his discussion important methodological texts and articles from many social science disciplines, thus making his volume a concise reference for guiding students to further reading on particular issues. The excitement of the book is enhanced also by the diversity of research projects in which Agar has been involved as an ethnographer... There are points of contention that could be raised about the book, and Agar frequently acknowledges that his position on certain issues is debatable. He also intended the book to set up issues 'clearly enough so that other enthographers can agree or argue. In this, he succeeds. As an 'informal introduction, the book covers more ground than the subtitle suggests, ground enough to serve as an important stimulus and guide for students of ethnography both in sociology and in other social disciplines." --CONTEMPORARY SOCIOLOGY "This book is one of the strongest in the field... The book appeals to an audience that grown considerably beyond anthropologists." --JOHN GUMPERTS, University of California, Berkeley
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About Michael H. Agar

Michael Agar received his Ph.D. in anthropology at the Language-Behavior Research Laboratory at the University of California, Berkeley. His recent books include Speaking of Ethnography, Independents Declared, and Language Shock. Agar has been doing ethnography for many years with a variety of people including heroin addicts, villagers inSouth India, independent truckers, and Austrian politicians.
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Rating details

51 ratings
3.9 out of 5 stars
5 18% (9)
4 55% (28)
3 27% (14)
2 0% (0)
1 0% (0)
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