In this powerful volume, ten original ethnographies explore two important issues: the ways in which people confront the threats and disruptions of contemporary life, and the ways in which researchers can most effectively study the modern metropolis. With its twofold agenda, the volume emerges as a multi-layered dialogue between researcher and researched, participant and observer, educator and educated.
These essays, produced in a refreshing collaborative effort by a senior scholar and ten graduate students, examine many facets of American urban life, among them new social movements that mobilize and work on behalf of people with AIDS and that fight against nuclear war; the decisive roles South East Asian women play in building new immigrant communities; and school programs for African-American children.
Ethnography Unbound also explores the value of participant observation and the extended case method in social research, underlining how these methodological approaches deepen and enrich scholarship in the social sciences.
The book poses theoretical and methodological questions in an open and lucid manner, prodding a rethinking of ethnographic research. Scholars and students alike will find it an essential text for the study of methodology and contemporary American life.
All of the authors are affiliated with the Department of Sociology at the University of California, Berkeley.
"Establishes a new landmark in the study of everyday life in the modern metropolis. This book brilliantly integrates systematic theory and participant observation data. Forms of domination and resistance are poignantly captured in different social settings, and admirably related to economic and political forces. The volume will do more to enhance ethnographic research than any previous study in sociology."—William Julius Wilson, University of Chicago
"What is unleashed in Ethnography Unbound is the theoretical and critical potential of exemplary urban fieldwork and pedagogy. This book by Michael Burawoy and his talented students sets an inspirational standard to emulate in the classroom and in the 'field'."—Judith Stacey, author of Brave New Families
"Bravo! A book that explodes the barriers that prevent us from seeing, simultaneously, both the social world and our role in its making. The dichotomies of teacher/student, researcher/researched, and theory/data are subjected to a penetrating and refreshing scrutiny in this unique project."—Rick Fantasia, author of Cultures of Solidarity
"Burawoy and his colleagues have rediscovered the ancient truth that participant observation is well-suited to understanding the larger society as well as microsocial life. Moreover, they have made that rediscovery superbly. The essays are of high quality and I hope that the book will increase yet further the current interest in participant observation and ethnography."—Herbert J. Gans, author of People, Plans and Policies