Critical Ethnography Research Seminar

Interuniversity Two Days Training Programme: Critical Ethnographic Research

17-18 SEPTEMBER 2015

Centre for Research on Culture and Gender (Ghent University)

In coorperation with the Interculturalism, Migration and Minorities Research Centre (Leuven University) & the Centre for Migration and Intercultural Studies (University of Antwerp)

The idea of ethnography refers at the same time to a specific theoretical and conceptual framework as well as to a specific perspective on research methodology. It is used in many disciplines, including in anthropology, sociology, sociolinguistics, history, political studies, education, arts and architecture, to study and understand social meaning and individuals’ and groups’ social frameworks. Underpinned by a critical and/or social-constructivist paradigm, it is a theoretical position that assumes the contextualised nature of human actions, is committed to complexity, intersectionality and contradiction and takes a reflexive stance towards the role of researchers. Privileging close and prolonged observation ‘in the field’ as its primary source of information, ethnography draws on a range of qualitative methods, including (participant) observation, interviewing and reading of documentary materials and cultural artefacts.

This interdisciplinary intensive course provides Doctoral and advanced Master students from different disciplines an introduction to the principles and practices of doing ethnographic research. The course specifically brings into focus postcolonial and/or feminist ethnographic perspectives, both in theoretical approaches and practical application. The first day focusses on the philosophical and epistemological foundations of postcolonial and feminist ethnographic research. Three prominent scholars who have extensively written about ethnographic methodology will address key epistemological and theoretical challenges and opportunities that emerge in ethnographic research. During the master classes, students will have the opportunity to discuss the methodological issues involved in their own research by means of presentations and a roundtable  discussion. The second day of the training programme focusses on the practice of ethnographic research and the difficulties involved in translating the theoretical approaches into concrete methods and strategies. It provides a platform for students to listen to and interact with researchers who have extensive experience in doing ethnographic research, each in different settings and using different methods and media.