Mapping Social Relations: A Primer in Doing Institutional Ethnography

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University of Toronto Press, 2002 - Human services - 160 pages

Published Under the Garamond Imprint

Available in the US through AltaMira Press.

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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Finding a Place to Begin
Theory in Everyday Life
Beginning an Institutional Ethnography
Collecting Data for an Institutional
Analyzing Data in Institutional
Making Sense of DiscursivelyOrganized Settings
Interpretation and Analysis
Studies by Institutional Ethnographers with Research
Practising a Sociology for People
Subverting Institutionalization

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About the author (2002)

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.

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