Bodies and Places in Institutional Ethnography
Institutional ethnographers work with an explicit social ontology that begins from the recognition that “[i]ndividuals are there; they are in their bodies; they are active; and what they’re doing is coordinated with the doings of others” (Dorothy Smith, 2005, p. 59) A central goal of institutional ethnography is to discover the ways that people’s activities are coordinated (often in extended, translocal relations) such that their experience happens as it does. Over the years much institutional ethnographic analysis has focussed on conceptual modes of coordination and forms of rule vested in texts, which are powerful organizers in contemporary society and highly consequential for what happens to human bodies and the places where we find ourselves. However, some institutional ethnographic research has made the corporeal and physical aspects of institutional coordination and everyday life a particular focus of analysis. Often this research involves observational forms of inquiry or interviews and personal reflections exploring embodied and sensory practices.
In recent years there has been a call to include bodies and places in sociological analysis. What contributions can/does institutional ethnography make to this project of bringing bodies into sociological view? What are distinctly institutional ethnographic ways of doing this?
This session invites papers that report on institutional ethnographic research which brings a particular focus to embodied, emplaced practices and experiences -- or that consider these questions from analytical or methodological perspectives.