Reflexive Ethnography in Information Systems Research

Reflexive Ethnography in Information Systems Research

Ulrike Schultze (Southern Methodist University, USA)
Copyright: © 2001 |Pages: 26
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-930708-06-8.ch004


To do fieldwork apparently requires some of the instincts of an exile, for the fieldworker typically arrives at the place of study without much of an introduction and knowing few people, if any. Fieldworkers, it seems, learn to move among strangers while holding themselves in readiness for episodes of embarrassment, affection, misfortune, partial or vague revelation, deceit, confusion, isolation, warmth, adventure, fear, concealment, pleasure, surprise, insult and always possible deportation. Accident and happenstance shapes fieldworkers’ studies as much as planning and foresight; numbing routine as much as live theater; impulse as much as rational choice; mistaken judgments as much as accurate ones. This may not be the way fieldwork is reported, but it is the way it is done (Van Maanen, 1988, p. 2).

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