Rethinking ethnographic comparison: two cities, five years, one ethnographer

Picker, G. (2017) Rethinking ethnographic comparison: two cities, five years, one ethnographer. Journal of Contemporary Ethnography, 46(3), pp. 263-284. (doi: 10.1177/0891241614548105)

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In this article I show that the ethnographer can be a heuristic source of comparison. I reflexively discuss the ways in which I learnt from the problems behind my comparative ethnography of everyday representations of Roma in both a Romanian and an Italian city. As a priori detecting a homogeneous group called Roma in Europe can be problematic, my comparison lacked the necessary condition of similarity between the two contexts. Once I came back from the field, I understood how my differently perceived selves influenced my informants’ articulations of their own representations of local Roma. This and further observations made me understand that I had not carried out a comparison; rather, I established a series of “partial connections” through “juxtaposition.” In the Conclusion, I encourage more reflexive research on the heuristic validity of taking ourselves-ethnographers as heuristic units of comparison.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Picker, Dr Giovanni
Authors: Picker, G.
Subjects:H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Social and Political Sciences > Sociology Anthropology and Applied Social Sciences
Journal Name:Journal of Contemporary Ethnography
Publisher:SAGE Publications
ISSN (Online):1552-5414
Published Online:19 August 2014

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