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Contours of Culture


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Table of Contents

Chapter 1 Contours of Ethnography Chapter 2 Ethnographic Research: Unity and Diversity Chapter 3 Discourse and Social Interaction Chapter 4 Narratives and Other Stories 5 Materials and Traces 6 Places, Spaces, and Timescapes 7 Visual and Sensory Cultures Chapter 8 Complex Ethnography, Ethnography of Complexity

About the Author

Paul Atkinson is Distinguished Research Professor in sociology at Cardiff University, in Wales. Sara Delamont is a reader in sociology at Cardiff University. William Housley is a lecturer in sociology at Cardiff University.


This is a powerful book, compelling in detail, vision, and grasp of the contemporary landscape in ethnographic research. The authors steer the field back to foundational moorings, to the careful ethnographic study of the multiple forms of daily life, including discourse, social interaction, narratives, stories, places, and spaces. We've long needed a book like this. In its passionate call for a return to foundations, it represents cutting-edge new directions in qualitative inquiry. -- Norman K. Denzin, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Atkinson, Delamont and Housley's richly detailed and elegantly written plea challenges ethnographers to overcome what they see as the fragmentation of qualitative research to interpret the complexities of ordered social life. The authors call for attention to talk; narrative; physical and material things; places; space and time; and the visual and sensory aspects of social life-not as separate analytic enterprises, but as a fully sustained engagement with and examination of everyday social life in a given social world. -- Virginia Olesen, University of California, San Francisco
The authors present a passionate, well-reasoned, and well-written call for a return to an admittedly 'old-fashioned' form of ethnography....Highly recommended. * CHOICE, November 2008 *
In Contours of Culture, Paul Atkinson, Sara Delamont, and William Housley provide a ringing defense of the traditions and justifications of classic ethnography. In their persuasive argument, even complex societies can be uncovered and interpreted through a realist perspective, recognizing the power of the involved and thoughtful observer. By examining discourse, narrative, objects, space, time, and sensory stimuli, the distinguished authors demonstrate that the complexity of social scenes deserves an ethnographic treatment of equal subtlety and depth. -- Gary Alan Fine, Northwestern University

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