Sustaining Stories … In-house, Ethnographic Practice

In 2008, the Ethnographic Praxis in Industry Conference (EPIC) was held in Copenhagen.  Unfortunately, global economic and personal circumstances required a last minute change in our travel plans, and my co-author Johann and I were not able to attend. We asked Simon Pulman-Jones (our session curator) to deliver a shortened version of our presentation using this script.  You may also be interested in reading the full paper from the EPIC 2008 proceedings.

Sustaining Stories:  The Versatile Life of Sustained, In-house, Ethnographic Practice in a Global Software Company

This presentation was prepared in collaboration with Johann Sarmiento-Klapper, Ph.D.

Paper 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.

Session Abstract

This panel was curated by Simon Pulman-Jones
In sight on site: revealing and sustaining valuable knowledge for corporations
For panel participants and details, visit the EPIC 2008 website.

Presentation

One Comment on “Sustaining Stories … In-house, Ethnographic Practice

  1. Pingback: Sustaining Stories | Natalie Hanson

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