RESA: Research School for Swedish Anthropology
Ph.D. course open to: All Ph.D. students in Anthropology or related disciplines
Course title: Ethnographic method
Dates: February 17 - March 24 2015
Location: Gothenburg
Course coordinators/Teaching: Dan Rosengren and Lisa Åkesson, Department of Global Studies, University of Gothenburg
Contact: Please contact ASAP if you plan to take part.

Organization and examination: During the first meeting the course is introduced followed by a lecture presenting a brief overview of the development of ethnographic field methods. Meeting 2 consists of a number of accounts of field experiences from anthropologists who work in different kinds of fields with different methodological approaches. Meeting 3-7 are organized as seminars where the participants are expected to orally present short papers (2-3 pages) related to the respective themes. These papers shall discuss the course literature and bring up the following points:

  • Some central methodological strategies/perspective in the literature.
  • A brief critical discussion of these strategies/perspectives in relation to other approaches.
  • A description of how these strategies/perspectives relate to the student’s plans for fieldwork.

As the course is intense, we recommend you to get acquainted with the literature before the course starts.


1. Introductory lecture
Tue 17 Feb 13.15-15.00 Room E509

Presentation of the course: content, purpose, structure, reading instructions, teachers, and participants (Dan Rosengren and Lisa Åkesson).
Principal characteristics and historical development of the ethnographic method (Dan Rosengren)

2. Key experiences and challenges in different fieldworks

Presentations by researchers at the department:
Cecilia Ekström Feb 17 15.30-16.30 Room E509
Marita Eastmond Feb 18 13.30-14.30 Room E509
Staffan Appelgren Feb 18 15.00-16.00 Room E509
Maria Gonzalez Feb 24 11.00-12.00 Room E509

3. Seminar: Participant observation, interviews and ethics (Dan R.)
Tue 24 Feb 13.15-15.00 Room E509

American Anthropological Association. 2007 [1998]. Code of Ethics. In Ethnographic Fieldwork. An Anthropological Reader, ed. by Antonious Robben & Jeffrey Sluka, pp. 325-330.

Barley, Nigel. 1983. The Innocent Anthropologist. Notes from a Mud Hut. Harmondsworth: Penguin. (190 p.)

Ellen, Roy. 1984. Ethnographic Research. A Guide to General Conduct, chapter 6: Ethics in relation to informants, the profession and governments, pp. 133-154. London: Academic Press.

Gudeman, Stephen & Alberto Rivera. 1990. Conversations in Colombia. Ch. 1: Conversations, pp. 1-17. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Johnson, Allen & Ross Sackett. 2000. Direct Systematic Observation of Behavior. In Handbook of Methods in Cultural Anthropology, H.Russell Bernard, pp. 301-331.

Rubenstein, Steven L. 2004. Fieldwork and the Erotic Economy on the Colonial Frontier. Sign: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, 29: 1041- 1071.

Savage, Jan. 2000. Participative Observation: Standing in the Shoes of Others? Qualitative Health Research, 10(3): 324-339.

4. Seminar: Contextualization and case studies (Dan R.)
Tue 3 March 13.15-15.00

Dilley, Roy. 1999. Introduction. The Problem of Context. In The Problem of Context, ed. by Roy Dilley, pp. 1-46. New York & Oxford: Berghahn.

Flyvbjerg, Bent. 2006. Five Misunderstandings About Case-study Research. Qualitative Inquiry, 12(2):219-245.

Mitchell, J. Clyde. 1983. Case and Situation Analysis. Sociological Review, 31(2):187–211.

Rubenstein, Steven L. Alejandro Tsakimp. A Shuar Healer in the Margins of History. Lincoln & London: University of Nebraska Press.

5. Seminar: Reflexivity and fieldnotes (Lisa Å.)
Tue 10 March 13.15-15.00 Room E509

Clifford, James. 1986. Introduction: Partial truths, in Writing Culture: The Poetics and Politics of Ethnography 1-27.

Davies, Charlotte Aull. 1999. Introduction, in Reflexive ethnography: A guide to researching selves and others. Routledge.

Emerson, Fretz and Shaw. 2011. Writing ethnographic fieldnotes. University of Chicago Press (selected parts).

6. Seminar: Life histories and collaborative ethnography (Lisa Å)
Tue 17 March 13.15-15.00 Room C417

Lassiter, Luke Eric. 2005. Collaborative ethnography. Univ of Chicago Press (152 p.)

Eastmond, Marita. 2007. Stories as lived experience: Narratives in forced migration research. Journal of Refugee Studies 20(2):248-264.

Behar, Ruth. 1993. Translated woman: Crossing the border with Esperanza’s story. Beacon Press (342 p)

7. Seminar: Fieldwork in a globalized and complex world (Lisa Å.)
Tue 24 March 13-15 Room E509

Marcus, George. 1995. Ethnography in/of the world system: The emergence of multi-sited ethnography. Annual Review of Anthropology 24: 95-117.

Faubion, James & George Marcus. 2009. Fieldwork is not what it used to be: Learning Anthropology’s method in a time of transition (Introduction + at least one of the chapters in part 1)

Candea, Matei. 2007. Arbitrary locations: In defence of the bounded field-site. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 13:167-184.

Hage, Ghassan. 2005. A not so multi-sited ethnography of a not so imagined community. Anthropological Theory 5(4):463-475.

Garcia, A.C., Standlee, A.I., Bechkoff, J. & Cui, Y. (2009) “Ethnographic Approaches to the Internet and Computer-mediated Information” in Journal of Contemporary Ethnography, 38(1):52-84.


Miller, Daniel and Jolynna Sinanan (2014) Webcam. Cambridge: Polity Press.

Miller, Daniel. 2011. Tales from Facebook. Cambridge: Polity Press.