In this powerful volume, ten original ethnographies explore two important issues: the ways in which people confront the threats and disruptions of contemporary life, and the ways in which researchers can most effectively study the modern metropolis. With its twofold agenda, the volume emerges as a multi-layered dialogue between researcher and researched, participant and observer, educator and educated. These essays, produced in a refreshing collaborative effort by a senior scholar and ten graduate students, examine many facets of American urban life, among them new social movements that mobilize and work on behalf of people with AIDS and that fight against nuclear war; the decisive roles South East Asian women play in building new immigrant communities; and school programs for African-American children. Ethnography Unbound also explores the value of participant observation and the extended case method in social research, underlining how these methodological approaches deepen and enrich scholarship in the social sciences. The book poses theoretical and methodological questions in an open and lucid manner, prodding a rethinking of ethnographic research.
Scholars and students alike will find it an essential text for the study of methodology and contemporary American life.