Monthly Archives: February 2014

2014 Bronislaw Malinowski Award Recipient: Paul Durrenberger

Dr. Durrenberger is an esteemed senior scholar who is widely recognized for his applications of social science methodologies to understand and serve the needs of the world. His long career boasts field work in Northern Thailand, Iceland, Turkey, North Carolina, Mississippi, Pennsylvania, and Iowa. His prolific publication record includes seminal articles in the American Anthropologist, the American Ethnologist, Field Methods, Culture and Agriculture, Ethnos, and the Annual Review of Anthropology to name only a few. His long list of books and book chapters includes studies on agriculture, labor, fishing territories, class, globalization, theory and methodology, archaeology, religion, politics and public policy.durrenberger

Paul Durrenberger serves on the editorial boards of Maritime Anthropological Studies, Journal of Anthropological Research, Journal of Political Ecology, the Society for Economic Anthropology, Journal for the Anthropology of Work, and Culture and Agriculture. Dr. Durrenberger regularly contributes to the academic and non-academic community with reviews, reports, opinion editorials and commentaries. He is also a regular featured guest on National Public Radio, bring anthropological insights to bear on current events and issues. Paul Durrenberger has earned research grants from the prestigious Ford Foundation, the National Science Foundation, and the Fulbright Foundation, as well as numerous other grants. His awards include recognition for excellence in teaching and the Robert McNetting Prize of the Political Ecology Society for an article judged to best advance research in that field. He is widely recognized for his scientific contributions within his discipline and among academic administrators and political activists.


The Qualitative Report Sixth Annual Conference

Nova Southeastern University
Fort Lauderdale, Florida USA
January 9 – 10, 2015
Sponsored by the Graduate School of Humanities and Social Sciences

Call for Papers and Panel Presentation Abstracts

Every year since 2010, we have invited qualitative research practitioners, faculty, and students from around the world to join us on the NSU campus in January for The Qualitative Report (TQR) Annual Conference. The two-day event is organized around a theme and features plenary addresses by internationally recognized qualitative research experts, peer-reviewed paper and panel presentations, and interactive workshops.

The theme for TQR2015 is “Transforming Qualitative Research.”

Insights from qualitative research are having a transformative effect on how we understand and manage our world. Quantitative renderings of what happened are now regularly joined by qualitative descriptions, interpretations, and explanations of not only the what, but also the how, the why, the who, the when, and the where to produce better context-sensitive information on which important decisions can be made. This emerging practice of regularly including qualitative and quantitative perspectives in inquiries has led to changes in how we design, evaluate, access, understand, and change the world around us.

Qualitative research can also have a transformative influence on the persons conducting the inquiry. A qualitative way of knowing the world can change how we hear and see others; and how we reflect on our own participation in the world around ourselves. The skill sets and knowledge base demanded by qualitative research including technology prowess, artistic aplomb, and methodology acumen challenge us to grow continuously in order to meet the changing demands of academia and the marketplace.

This transformational effect is an interactional affair because the world around us has also influenced how we conduct and communicate our qualitative craft and product. Big data with its powerful analytics, ubiquitous technologies with immediate feedback, collaborative demands for design decisions, and mixed-methods for an array of research strategies can be seen as threats to what we understand qualitative research traditionally to be, or be accepted as a natural evolution of ethnographic, phenomenological, narrative, and discursive ways of knowing.

At TQR2015, we want to ponder transforming qualitative research by featuring works, of and on qualitative inquiry, that exemplify the agents of change we can be as qualitative researchers and how elements around such as mixed-method designs and big data can also serve as active ingredients modifying the ways in which we practice and conceive qualitative research. To this end we encourage prospective presenters to submit their paper and paper panel proposals that will inspire conference attendees to consider transformative qualitative research and researchers. In keeping with the spirit of our theme of transformation, we are also open to receiving creative presentation forms and content that can transform our conference in style and substance.

We will be accepting submissions from February 1 to April 30, 2014. Over the next few weeks we will share more details about TQR 2015. As always, please let us know your questions and comments by sending us your emails to, posting to our Facebook page, ortweeting us!

Call for Submissions
February 1 – April 30, 2014

There will be two types of presentations at TQR2015:

  • Individual Paper Presentation: Presenters share the results of their research findings or innovations for 20 minutes with an additional question and answer period following the paper presentations.
  • Complete Paper Panel: Three to four presenters share the results of their research findings or innovations for 20 minutes each with an additional question and answer period following the paper presentations. There must be a theme organizing the individual paper presentations and a designated moderator.

For all presentations, submitters must provide

  • A title consisting of no more than 60 characters
  • A presentation summary consisting of no more than 500 characters
  • Names, institutional affiliations, and email addresses for all presenters.

All presentation proposals must be submitted via the TQR2015 portal which opened February 1, 2014 and will close April 30, 2014.

The portal to submit your proposals in now open at

How to do ethnography

Malinowski with natives, Trobriand Islands, 1918

Malinowski with natives, Trobriand Islands, 1918

This post aims to explain how to use observation or related methods such as ethnography in social research. Hence the post is divided in three sections. First one aims to answer what does this method mean and come from, second one, what does it make observation different from other methods as in-depth interview or focus group and last but not least what a researcher is supposed to observe in such studies.

1. What is the observation method and what does it come from?

Whenever your research question deals with people behavior an obvious form to understand it is just watch how they behave. This is essentially what observation and ethnography are all about, a systematically observation of people behavior.  Although there are differences between them (Atkinson and Hammersley, 1998) both observation and ethnography will be treated as equivalent techniques in this and following posts.

It is important to add that both are originally rooted into social science. It was a polish anthropologist, Bronisław Malinowski, who first applied it, at the beginning of XX century, what is considered the oldest qualitative method. By mean this method; he conducted several fieldworks in order to analyze patterns of exchange in aboriginal communities, mainly in Africa and Australia. It was also Chicago School of social research that first encouraged its students to study by observation the constantly changing social phenomena of Chicago in the 1920´s and 1930´s.

Its importance has considerably grown over the last decades as a way to understand buying process. Observing customers both in naturally occurring actions like in a shop, bar or at home is now a common method in market research industry. On the other hand, with the advent of Internet, such techniques as online ethnography (Martinez and Rodríguez, 2008) or nethnography (Kozinets, 2002), among other; are already an essential part of today’s market research. On top of that, emergence of new social media such as twitter or Facebook give way to a new way to understand purchase and consumption decision. Besides pursuing conventional advertising, consumers are using Facebook groups, blogs, chat rooms, email, twitters to share ideas, build community and contact fellow consumers who are seem as more objective information source. Actually, several studies have confirmed that in the “buyer´s decision journey”, traditional marketing communications just aren´t relevant, or such as an article in Harvard Business journal has recently suggested, “Marketing is dead” (2012) Although this assertion may be seen as controversial, the truth is that every researcher shouldn´t nowadays underestimate the importance of new social media to gather market information. Such as the sociologist Manuel Castells sustained, we don´t live in a virtual reality but in a real virtually. Finally, despite the distance in time between first studies on aboriginal communities and current online studies, as well as between the different varieties that have emerged throughout the time, the essence is still the same, understanding human existence by mean observing people.

2. What makes observation method different

The development of observation and ethnography may strongly depend on the variety applied. How far observation is revealed to those who are observed, how far researcher participates or how systematic the collection of data is, gives way to the different varieties to be applied. Regardless such differences that may be looked up in the references, this post aims to highlight the essentials of a good observation.

1. Case study design. One shop, one office, one street or restaurant; observation is commonly applied in a specific case, always giving more importance to the depth of analysis than to how representative this case is.

2. Location in place and time of everyday life (Flick, 2009)

3. Interpretation and understanding. Although the information might be systematically collected by a “off-the-shelf” coding schedule (Lewis et al, 2009), usually called structured observation, the truth is that it is commonly applied as a method to interpret rather than quantifying people behavior.

4. Besides the competencies of speaking and listening used in interviews, observing is another everyday skill that is relevant for qualitative studies. Almost all sense; seeing, hearing, feeling and smelling are required for a good observation.

5. Interest in human meaning and interaction. In social sciences we cannot hope to adequately explain the behavior of social actors unless we at least try to understand their meanings. Remember the meaning of DC Metro for passer-by during rush hour on the Washington post´s violinist experiment.

6. Flexible, opportunistic and open ended inquiries (Flick, 2009) are an essential part of observation, except for the varieties that don´t require the researcher participant where there is no interaction with actors and consequently no question is formulated (non-participant observation)

3. What to observe

Before moving on to the proper observation, researcher should have previously selected the setting (where and when) as well as the actions to be documented (e.g. buying process) and a carefully description of the field, concentrating on aspects relevant to research question. Subsequently, researcher or observers hired for such reason will start the fieldwork, i.e. the observation properly. Now the question is what to observe in the observation process? The dimensions to be observed may vary from more structured to less structured observations. However, according to Spradley, social situations generally may be described along nine dimensions for observational purposes.

1. Space: the physical place or places.

2. Actors: the people involved.

3. Activity: a set of related acts people do. Who originates actions? How often? Which consequences with? For whom such consequences are?.

4. Object: the physical things that are present.

5. Act: single actions that people do.

6. Event: a set of related activities that people carry out.

7. Time: the sequencing that takes place over time.

8. Goal: the things people are trying to accomplish.

9. Feeling: the emotions felt and expressed.

On the other hand the more structured observations normally use a so called “off-the-shelf” coding schedule (Lewis et al, 2009). What is it? It is a number of questions to be tested during the observation time. For instances, the bellow table shows the items tested by a group or observers in a study that aimed to measure a fastfoodchain service quality:


Reference list

Atkinson, P., & Hammersley, M. (1994). Ethnography and participant observation. Handbook of qualitative research, 1, 248-261. In Flick, U. (2009). An introduction to qualitative research. Sage Publications Limited

Castells, Manuel (2012) Interview on BBC: “Viewpoint: Manuel Castells on the rise of alternative economic cultures” Retrieved from

Flick, U. (2009). An introduction to qualitative research. Sage Publications Limited

Kozinets, R. V. (2002). The field behind the screen: using netnography for marketing research in online communities. Journal of marketing research, 61-72. In Lewis, Philip, Mark NK Saunders, and Adrian Thornhill. Research methods for business students. Pearson, 2009.

Lee, B. (2012). Marketing Is Dead. HBR Blog Network. Harvard Business.

Lewis, Philip, Mark NK Saunders, and Adrian Thornhill. Research methods for business students. Pearson, 2009.

Martínez, P., & Rodríguez, P. M. (2008). Cualitativa-mente. ESIC Editorial.

Spradley, J. P. (1979). The ethnographic interview. In Flick, U. (2009). An introduction to qualitative researchSage Publications Limited

World population in one map


Source: Planet Earth @planetepics (2014) “Where humans live” (9th of January, 2014)

Example of explanatory research by mean secondary data

A referendum to limit migration from European Union countries took place on 10th February of 2014 in Switzerland. In the score of such event, Alexandre Afonso (2014) and Paul Haydon (2014) did a simple analysis of correlation between the share of migrants population per canton and the share of yes to anti-immigration initiative, based on the results of the referendum. The research question that lies beneath these analysis might be “is there a relationship between the share of migrant population in a given community and the way migration is seen by its members. Interestingly both the graphic and map bellow show that wherever there is less number of immigrants, the rejection of immigrants is greater. It is a clear example of explanatory research, where the main objective is identifying the existence between two or more variables. By the way, Swiss voters narrowly back referendum curbing immigration.

The results of this case, also arose multiples new questions on how public opinion is build. Is there a real problem with immigrants or rather certain media shape deliberately population opinion?

map refer


Reference list

Haydon, Paul (@Paul_Haydon) (2014) “Map of who voted how in Swiss referendum. Areas with fewest immigrants most anti-immigration” 9th of February, 2014, 6:34 PM

Foulkes, Imogen (2014, February 11). Swiss immigration: 50.3% back quotas, final results show. BBC News. Retrieved from

 Afonso, Alexandre @alexandreafonso (2014) “Relationship between share of migrants per canton and share of yes to anti-immigration initiative” 9th of February, 2014, 6:31 PM

“Gendered strategies of resistance in the workplace”. An example of participant observation study

I intend to focus on the issue of gendered economic relations on the labor market. I would like to investigate how the feminization of work is produced (on the macro level: by economic, state and labor market transition of diverse sector of the economy) and reproduced (in the every-day life experience of women workers). The main question would therefore be: how is global capitalist economic restructuring affecting the lives of Polish women workers? Furthermore, to escape the binary vision of gender/power relations, I will also look for women’s strategies of resistance to better understand if and why the women workers struggle is possible, and how it deconstructs their subordinate position and brings empowerment. In my PhD thesis I intend to study gender/power-class relations in one of the factories in the Walbrzych Special Economic Zone and also conduct desk research on special economic zones in Poland. This will enable me to grasp the chain of capital flow and its linkages with the local market and women workers’ experiences. No research on special economic zones from a feminist and workers rights perspective has been done in Poland. In the media and policy makers’ accounts, the zones are a success story in bringing in foreign investment, generating jobs, and enhancing the competitiveness of Polish economy. They are described as a solution to unemployment in Poland following transitional crisis, when over 5 million jobs were lost between 1992 and 2004. Precarious work, violations of labor rights, depletion of local government income, environmental costs, and impact on women are not addressed. Given this, my research project would try to provide a new background knowledge for political organizing on women’s and labor rights.

The paper would therefore be the excerpt of the theoretical framework that I have been study recently. Thus, I would like to shift the perspective closed in conference ‘call for papers’ and  concentrate on the issue of the intersection between gender and the strategies of workers’ resistance: if and how the conditions of women’s work interfere with the workers organizing (meant as: the trade union or the informal groups of workers’ activists).  In other words I would like to question how the oppression is gendered and how the resistance is gendered in the workplace, and if there is a need for other organizing among women workers – different form the traditional trade unionism.

Author: Małgorzata Maciejewska. University of Wrocław


Turismo a escala humana

Las rejas, los letreros o los buzones también tienen gran interés turístico…El patrimonio urbano pequeño contribuye más que el monumental a la riqueza de las calles. Y su conservación habla de civilización. “La presencia de tiempos diferentes en la ciudad da un significado más profundo y rico al espacio urbano”…no se trata de atraer al turismo con gestos monumentales sino de intentar que vuelva. Una ciudad construida a capas es como un buen libro, o una buena película: permite relecturas, se deja ver de nuevo.



2014 Contemporary Ethnography Across the Disciplines Hui

Kia ora koutou! The third international Contemporary Ethnography Across the Disciplines (CEAD) hui has been announced. The conference CEAD 2014: Sensual Landscapes of Ethnography will take place from 25-28 November 2014 and will return to the beautiful campus of the University of Waikato in Hamilton in Aotearoa New Zealand. The CEAD, an international ethnography conference and hui, welcomes all forms of engagement in ethnographic disciplinary practice, and aims to stimulate rich intellectual discourse. As a Southern Hemisphere conference, it offers a richness of perspective that is slightly counter to the dominant, hegemonic worldview of many ethnographic pieces; for example, informed by a Kaupapa Māori wordview of “research,” discussions of participant/researcher “ethics” take on a decidedly-richer, more nuanced, view. Researchers and practitioners from across the disciplines of law, anthropology, arts & letters, education, geography, health, management, business, psychology, sociology, cultural, and ethnic and gender studies – and any other discipline where ethnography advances scholarship and public understanding of the way groups and individuals interact and live their lives into being – are invited to share in the rich diversity that the conference and hui provides.

The major theme for the hui is Sensual Landscapes of Ethnography and there are three major content streams for exploration (read more about each one here):

  1. Emerging Methods: Traditional, Experimental and Transgressive Forms
  2. Praxis and Advocacy: Doing Ethnography on the Ground
  3. Social Justice and Transformation: Theoretical Ethnographic Visions

Further info here

A propósito dos rápidos procesos de industrialización e/o crecemento urbano

A propósito dos rápidos procesos de industrialización e/o crecemento urbano:

“Si el estudio a que usted se dedica tiende a debilitar sus afectos y a destruir su inclinación hacia los placeres sencillos en los que no puede mezclarse adulteración alguna, entonces ese estudio es inmoral e inconveniente para el intelecto humano. Si siempre se observara esta norma, si ningún ser humano permitiese que ambición alguna se interpusiera en la tranquilidad de sus afectos familiares, Grecia no hubiese sido esclavizada, César habría conservado su país, América sería descubierta más gradualmente y los imperios de México el Perú no habrían sido aniquilados” (Mary Shelley, Frankenstein)

Visto en: perfil facebook de Carmen Lamela