Comparison in Ethnographic Research

Sunday, 10 July 2016: 10:45-12:15
Location: Hörsaal 50 (Main Building)
RC33 Logic and Methodology in Sociology (host committee)
RC20 Comparative Sociology

Language: English

In order to identify commonalities or differences between specific cases, to understand the wider relevance of a specific phenomenon, or to criticize and assess certain social trends or qualities by means of contrasting along comparative criteria the method of comparison is of importance in ethnographic research. 
This session focuses on the possibilities of assessing comparative sets of data to reach a wider understanding of social phenomena, and on the discussion of strategies for doing so. We especially invite researchers from collaborative ethnographic projects to share their experiences and methodologies of comparison. Yet, the session is also open to individual researchers engaging with the questions posed for the session. We invite a critical reflection of contemporary research constraints and the increasing need for collaborative and/or interdisciplinary projects. The following questions are of special interest for paper proposals: 

  • Which methodologies allow for comparison in ethnographic research? 
  • How can large scale social phenomena be addressed by research while grounding data in the specificities of everyday life? 
  • What are insights, experiences, best and worst practices with comparative methodology? 
  • Which sets of tools for gathering and analyzing data (e.g. the development of indicators, use of questionnaires, techniques of coding) were especially suitable to recognize relations, linkages or contrasts between cases? 
  • Which conceptual tools allow researchers to generate theory by various approaches to comparison (see Gingrich, 2002; and also: Scheffer and Niewöhner, 2010; Gingrich and Fox, 2002; Herzfeld, 2001)?
Session Organizers:
Barbara STEFAN, Universität Wien, Austria, Deniz SEEBACHER, University of Vienna, Austria and Andreas STREINZER, University of Vienna, Austria
Barbara HEER, University of Basel, Switzerland
A Critique of Positionality in Critical Ethnography
Zeliha ETOZ, Ankara University, Faculty of Political Sciences, Turkey; Yagmur DONMEZ, Gaziosmanpaşa University, Turkey
Embedding Ethnographic Comparison
Giovanni PICKER, European University Viadrina, Germany
Potentials and Challenges of Comparison in Organisational Ethnography
Christian ROGLER, University of Vienna, Austria
TEAM Ethnography: A Comparison Between Perspectives of Different Researchers
Erika CELLINI, University of Florence, Italy, Italy; Barbara SARACINO, University of Florence, Italy
Border Figurations – Comparing Different Groupings with Ethnographic and Biographical Research Methods
Eva BAHL, Center of Methods in Social Sciences, University of Goettingen, Germany; Arne WORM, Center of Methods in Social Sciences, University of Goettingen, Germany