Mapping Social Relations: A Primer in Doing Institutional Ethnography

By Marie Campbell and Frances Gregor

© 2002

This is a book about a distinctive methodological approach inspired by one of Canada's most respected scholars, Dorothy Smith. Institutional ethnography aims to answer questions about how everyday life is organized. What is conventionally understood as "the relationship of micro to macro processes" is, in institutional ethnography, conceptualized and explored in terms of ruling relations. The authors suggest that institutional ethnographers must adopt a particular research stance, one that recognizes that people's own knolwedge and ways of knowing are crucial elements of social action and thus of social analysis. Specific attention to text analysis is integral to the approach.

Institutional ethnography is remarkably well-suited to the human service curriculum and the training of professionals and activists. Its strategy for learning how to understand problems existing in everyday life appeals to many researchers who are looking for guidance on how to take practical action. At the same time, the highly elaborated theoretical foundation of institutional ethnography is difficult to deal with in the brief time most students are in the classroom. The authors successfully tackle the issue of teaching and applying institutional ethnography. Campbell and Gregor have been testing out instructional methods and materials for many years. Mapping Social Relations is the product of that effort.

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Product Details

  • Division: Higher Education
  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 160 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.0in x 0.3in x 8.9in
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SKU# HE000163

  • PUBLISHED MAY 2002

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Quick Overview

This text is firmly grounded in critical social analysis.

Mapping Social Relations: A Primer in Doing Institutional Ethnography

By Marie Campbell and Frances Gregor

© 2002

This is a book about a distinctive methodological approach inspired by one of Canada's most respected scholars, Dorothy Smith. Institutional ethnography aims to answer questions about how everyday life is organized. What is conventionally understood as "the relationship of micro to macro processes" is, in institutional ethnography, conceptualized and explored in terms of ruling relations. The authors suggest that institutional ethnographers must adopt a particular research stance, one that recognizes that people's own knolwedge and ways of knowing are crucial elements of social action and thus of social analysis. Specific attention to text analysis is integral to the approach.

Institutional ethnography is remarkably well-suited to the human service curriculum and the training of professionals and activists. Its strategy for learning how to understand problems existing in everyday life appeals to many researchers who are looking for guidance on how to take practical action. At the same time, the highly elaborated theoretical foundation of institutional ethnography is difficult to deal with in the brief time most students are in the classroom. The authors successfully tackle the issue of teaching and applying institutional ethnography. Campbell and Gregor have been testing out instructional methods and materials for many years. Mapping Social Relations is the product of that effort.

Continue Reading Read Less

Product Details

  • Division: Higher Education
  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 160 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.0in x 0.3in x 8.9in
  • Reviews

    This book makes accessible, to students and practitioners, one of the most incisive and revealing methodologies that sociology has to offer. It is clearly written, peppered with highly instructive examples, and firmly grounded in critical social analysis.


    William K. Carroll, University of Victoria

    Mapping Social Relations makes an enormous contribution... the authors have achieved a remarkable degree of clarity in a complex and challenging field.


    Nancy Jackson, University of Toronto
  • Author Information

    Marie Campbell is a professor in the faculty of Human and Social Development at the University of Victoria in British Columbia.



    Frances Gregor is an associate professor in the School of Nursing at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

  • Table of contents

    Introduction

    Why Another "Methods" Text?
    About the Authors
    Positioning the Text in Relation to its Users and Uses
    How the Book is Organized
    Acknowledgements

    Chapter One: Finding a Place to Begin 

    Practices of Knowing, Forms of Literacy
    The Located Knower: A Feminist Discovery
    Challenging Authoritative Ways of Knowing
    Learning to See "Social Organization" in a Health Care Setting
    Embodied Knowing in a Text-mediated World

    Chapter Two: Theory "in" Everyday Life

    Social Organization and Social Relations
    Texts and the Relations of Ruling
    Activating Texts as Ruling Relations
    Objectified Knowledge and Ruling
    Experience, Discourse, and Social Relations

    Chapter Three: Beginning an Institutional Ethnography

    Identifying the Problematic of the Research
    The Conceptual Frame for a Research Project
    Writing an Account of the Methodology

    Chapter Four: Collecting Data for an Institutional Ethnography

    Explicating Ruling Relations
    Positioning Oneself as a Researcher: Research Relations
    More about Data Collection and Interpersonal Relations with Informants
    Data Collection: How to "Look" and "Listen"
    Field Methods in Institutional Ethnography
    About Observations
    About Interviews
    About Texts as Data

    Chapter Five: Analyzing Data in Institutional Ethnography

    Moving from Data to Data Analysis: What Path to Follow?
    Different Ethnographies, Different Analytic Strategies
    Making Sense of Discursively-Organized Settings
    Writing Analysis in Institutional Ethnography
    Interpretation and Analysis

    Chapter Six: Putting Institutional Ethnography into Practice

    Studies by Institutional Ethnographers with Research Preparation in Master's Programs
    Practising a Sociology for People
    Subverting Institutionalization

    References

    Notes

    Index