Chapter 5: Conclusion: Tricks, Traps, and Moving Beyond

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Thomas, J. (Ed.). (1993).Doing critical ethnography(Vol. 26). Sage. 61-71.


<ul><li> 1. Chapter 5: Conclusion: Tricks, Traps, and Moving Beyond Thomas, J. (Ed.). (1993). Doing critical ethnography (Vol. 26). Sage. 61-71. AITZA M. HADDAD NUNEZ, J.D., LL.M. </li></ul> <p> 2. DOORS 3. Ethnography Critical thinking means: taking the sociological imagination seriously by shifting from discrete instances of phenomena to their broader social context. (p.62) Is a way of life that attempts to provide clearer images of the larger picture we are all part. Two Main Questions: How we remain scientific while simultaneously practicing critique? (p.61) Why should we bother to be critical at all? Knowledge is Power! 4. Traps and Tricks 8 Main Traps Most likely to occur during the interpretation and writing phase. Can doom a study as simply another polemical exercise that passionately rhetorical but scientifically unpersuasive. (p.62) 5. Main Traps and Tricks 1. Seeing only what serves our purpose 2. Using Conceptual clichs 3. Placing passion before science 4. Making claims beyond demonstrable evidence 5. Replacing reason with stridency 6. Writing to the already committed 7. Forgetting the ethnographic project 8. Taking ourselves as given 6. Trap and Trick 1: Seeing only what serves our purpose Trick: Avoid imposing meaning on data. Dishonest and unethical. If data contradicts or demonstrate processes counter to our expectations, we must then change our position to fit the data. (p.62) Never anticipate what will be found in a way that creates a built-in antagonism prior to data gathering. 7. Trap and Trick 2: Using Conceptual clichs Trick: Avoid buzzwords. jargon trap leads to exaggerated claims and distorted conclusions. If a specific term *+ is explicitly relevant to our analysis and discussion, it is legitimate to use. (p.63) All ethnography should demonstrate, not assert. Effective critique should lead the reader by painting a picture of the data, rather than by the passion of the researcher. 8. Trap and Trick 3: Placing passion before science Trick: Avoid ax grinding. Concluding section must be tight and with the goal of bringing data to bear on a topic, and not to attack a favorite target. Goal of Critical ethnography is not to castigate a particular group as unjust and oppressive. Self-righteous indignation is not only ineffective but it also diverts attention away from empirically based conclusions. Unless the materials speak to both the issues and the audience clearly, they are of no substantive value and therefore should not be brought to the table. KISKIF Keep It Simple, Keep It Fun! Avoid unnecessary preaching. 9. Trap and Trick 4: Making claims beyond demonstrable evidence Trick: Avoid overgeneralizing. Dont speak beyond the data; the analysis should not exceed what the data show. Dont attribute political motives to individuals or groups when looking instead to interactional processes that operate independently from political intentions. (p64) 10. Trap and Trick 5: Replacing reason with stridency Trick: Avoid sledgehammers. Most common in studies that lack data and therefore have to rely on simplified rhetoric. Good ethnography illustrates rather than asserts If a point cannot be asserted empirically, then it should not be asserted. (p.65) Empirical analysis should be thought as a scalpel, not a cudgel. And the metaphor of incisiveness is more effective than the metaphor of battering. or 11. Trap and Trick 6: Writing to the already committed Trick: Remember the audience. Dont preach to those already convinced of your ideas, but instead try to reach those who are not. Who those others are? All ethnography is a dual translation process. (p.66) Best strategy: Fluency in three languages: the subjects, yours, and the audiences. Anticipate the strongest arguments that all type of critics might raise. Intellectual integrity is never sacrificed to expediency. (p.66) 12. Trap and Trick 7: Forgetting the ethnographic project Trick: Appreciate difference. Critical ethnography is emancipatory. (p.67) Goal of studying stigmatized populations should be to convey a common humanity by comparing these with other populations juxtaposing the unfamiliar with what it is more familiar and place it in a new context. Writing is communication. (p.67) The use of a literary style is more effective than a stream-of- consciousness presentation of data. 13. Trap and Trick 8: Taking ourselves as given Trick: Discover reflexive who we are. Ethnography is talk about data and analysis of the data. Requires that we reflect who are we and what we say, how we might influence and shape the slice of culture we study, and how we ourselves are changed. (p.67) If our views change the product of our study changes. (p.67) Applicable to both the researcher and the participants under study. Avoid falling into the trap of creating a product of assertions rather than a demonstrable claim. 14. Why be Critical? Partly normative and partly practical A. Personal satisfaction Integrates the private with the professional sphere of existence Becomes an exhilarating challenge. B. Ethical Obligation There is always something better, and the goals of knowledge should include to work towards it. 15. Why be Critical? C. Intellectual responsibility Tends to transform conflicts of interest into theoretical challenges. Makes development of knowledge socially contingent in a responsible way because it provides a consumer warning while attempting to refine its product. (p.69) D. Emancipatory potential Free us from existing and unnecessary forms of cultural domination (p.69), and from ignorance, by identifying and challenging them (p.70) It requires continually questioning the limits of our certitude. (p.70) 16. Conclusion Critical ethnography challenges the primacy of professional technique and authority by identifying what oppresses and how it can be altered. (p.71) Invites to engage in social change by breaking the chalk. When done with subtlety and adherence to the data, it becomes a powerful means both to understand other cultures and to think about our own in new ways. (p.71) Why Critical Ethnography? </p>


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