Sustaining Stories

Abstract

Ethnographers, in a sense, play the role of story creators and storytellers.  For “in-house” ethnographers engaged in the long-term work of making sense of and contributing to organizations, a challenge emerges: discovering and managing the retrospective and prospective meaning of their storytelling. The narratives produced in these contexts – and the fieldwork from which they emerge – may make visible trajectories of practice for both subjects and researcher alike.  Here we reflect on the challenges and opportunities of sustaining ethnographic inquiry in a large global software company. Reflecting on close to ten years of participant observation, we outline some of our practices related to positioning, re-framing, and expanding ethnographic work, a dynamic that continues to shape our practice and its relevance within this corporate environment.

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The paper is part of the EPIC 2008 proceedings, which you can download here.
You can also view the presentation in this blog post.

 

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