Ethnography Unbound

From Theory Shock to Critical Praxis

Edited by Stephen Gilbert Brown & Sidney I. Dobrin

Subjects: Literacy Studies, Education, Cultural Studies, Composition And Rhetoric Studies
Paperback : 9780791460528, 338 pages, February 2004
Hardcover : 9780791460511, 338 pages, February 2004

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Table of contents


1. Introduction. New Writers of the Cultural Sage: From Postmodern Theory Shock to Critical Praxis
Stephen Gilbert Brown and Sidney I. Dobrin

I. Theoretical and Rhetorical Perspectives

2. Critical Ethnography, Ethics, and Work: Rearticulating Labor
Bruce Horner

3. Mediating Materiality and Discursivity: Critical Ethnography as Metageneric Learning
Mary Jo Reiff

4. The Ethnographic Experience of Postmodern Literacies
Christopher Schroeder

5. Shifting Figures: Rhetorical Ethnography
Gwen Gorzelsky

6. Writing Program Redesign: Learning from Ethnographic Inquiry, Civic Rhetoric, and the History of Rhetorical Education
Lynée Lewis Gaillet

II. Place-Conscious Ethnographies: Situating Praxis in the Field

7. Open to Change: Ethos, Identification, and Critical Ethnography in Composition Studies
Robert Brooke and Charlotte Hogg

8. State Standards in the United States and the National Curriculum in the United Kingdom: Political Siege Engines against Teacher Professionalism?
John Sylvester Lofty

9. Debating Ecology: Ethnographic Writing that "Makes a Difference"
Sharon McKenzie Stevens

III. The Nomadic Self: Reorganizing the Self in the Field

10. Critical Auto/Ethnography: A Constructive Approach to Research in the Composition Classroom
Susan S. Hanson

11. Unsituating the Subject: "Locating" Composition and Ethnography in Mobile Worlds
Christopher Keller

12. Protean Subjectivities: Qualitative Research and the Inclusion of the Personal
Janet Alsup

IV. Ethnographies of Cultural Change

13. Changing Directions: Participatory-Action Research, Agency, and Representation
Bronwyn T. Williams and Mary Brydon-Miller

14. Just What Are We Talking About? Disciplinary Struggle and the Ethnographic Imaginary
Lance Massey

V. Texts and (Con)Texts: Intertextual Voices

15. The Ethics of Reading Critical Ethnography
Min-Zhan Lu

16. Beyond Theory Shock: Ethos, Knowledge, and Power in Critical Ethnography
Stephen Gilbert Brown

List of Contributors


Problematizes traditional ethnographic research methods, offering instead self-reflexive critical practices.


These provocative new essays redefine the goals, methods, and assumptions of qualitative and ethnographic research in composition studies, making evident not only the crucial importance of ethnographic research, but also its resilience. As Ethnography Unbound makes evident, critical ethnographers are retheorizing their methodologies in ways that both redefine ethnographic practices and values and, at the same time, have begun to liberate ethnographic practices from the often-disabling stronghold of postmodern critique. Showing how ethnography works through dialogic processes and moves toward political ends, this collection opens the doors to rethinking ethnographic research in composition studies.

Stephen Gilbert Brown is Assistant Professor of English at the University of Nevada at Las Vegas and author of Words in the Wilderness: Critical Literacy in the Borderlands, also published by SUNY Press. Sidney I. Dobrin is Associate Professor of English at the University of Florida. He has published many books in composition theory, including the SUNY Press title, Natural Discourse: Toward Ecocomposition, (coauthored with Christian R. Weisser).