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Global Ethnography

Forces, Connections, and Imaginations in a Postmodern World

Michael Burawoy (Author), Joseph A. Blum (Author), Sheba George (Author), Zsuzsa Gille (Author), Millie Thayer (Author)

Available worldwide

Paperback, 408 pages
ISBN: 9780520222168
October 2000
$31.95, £27.00
In this follow-up to the highly successful Ethnography Unbound, Michael Burawoy and nine colleagues break the bounds of conventional sociology, to explore the mutual shaping of local struggles and global forces. In contrast to the lofty debates between radical theorists, these nine studies excavate the dynamics and histories of globalization by extending out from the concrete, everyday world.

The authors were participant observers in diverse struggles over extending citizenship, medicalizing breast cancer, dumping toxic waste, privatizing nursing homes, the degradation of work, the withdrawal of welfare rights, and the elaboration of body politics. From their insider vantage points, they show how groups negotiate, circumvent, challenge, and even re-create the complex global web that entangles them. Traversing continents and extending over three years, this collaborative research developed its own distinctive method of "grounded globalization" to grasp the evaporation of traditional workplaces, the dissolution of enclaved communities, and the fluidity of identities. Forged between the local and global, these compelling essays make a powerful case for ethnography's insight into global dynamics.
All of the authors were affiliated with the Sociology Department at the University of California, Berkeley.
"At last meets ethnography.eudora. This book shows how ethnography can have a global reach and a global relevance, its humanistic and direct methods actually made more not less relevant by recent developments in global culture and economy. `Globalisation` is not a singular, unilinear process, fatalistically unfolding towards inevitable ends: it entails gaps, contradictions, counter-tendencies, and marked unevenness. And just as capital flows more freely around the globe, so do human ideas and imaginings, glimpses of other possible futures. These elements all interact in really existing sites, situations and localities, not in outer space or near-earth orbit. Unprefigurably, they are taken up into all kinds of local meanings-makings by active humans struggling and creating with conditions on the ground, so producing new kinds of meanings and identities, themselves `up for export` on the world market. This book, conceptually rich, empirically concrete, shows how global neo-liberalism spawns a grounded globalisation, ethnographically observable, out of which is emerging the mosaic of a new kind of global civil society. As this book so richly shows, tracing the lineaments of these possibilities and changes is the special province of ethnography."—Paul Willis, author of Learning to Labor and editor of the journal Ethnography

"The authors of Global Ethnography bring globalization 'down to earth' and show us how it impacts the everyday lives of Kerala nurses, U.S. homeless recyclers, Irish software programmers, Hungarian welfare recipients, Brazilian feminists, and a host of other protagonists in a global postmodern world. This is superb ethnography -- refreshing and vivid descriptions grounded in historical and social contexts with important theoretical implications."—Louise Lamphere, President of the American Anthropological Association

"The global inhabits and constitutes specific structuration of the political, economic, cultural, and subjective. How to study this is a challenge. Global Ethnography makes an enormous contribution to this effort."—Saskia Sassen, author of Globalization and Its Discontents

"This fascinating volume will quickly find its place in fieldwork courses, but it should also be read by transnationalists and students of the political economy, economic sociologists, methodologists of all stripes--and doubting macrosociologists."—Herbert J. Gans, Robert S. Lynd Professor of Sociology, Columbia University

"Not only matches the originality and quality of Ethnography Unbound, but raises the ante by literally expanding the methodological and analytical repertory of ethnographic sociology to address the theoretical and logistical challenges of a globalized discipline and social world."—Judith Stacey, author of In the Name of the Family: Rethinking Family Values in the Postmodern Age

"In the best traditions of radical Berkeley scholarship, Burawoy's collective recaptures the ground(s) of an engaged sociology embedded in the culturalpolitics of the global without losing the ethnographer's magic—the local touch."—Nancy Scheper-Hughes, author of Death without Weeping

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