Somewhere between what is and what if: Fictionalisation and ethnographic inquiry

M.J Reed

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)

9 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Fictionalisation seems to render ethnographic inquiry suspect as research appropriate to the social sciences because it subverts a claim of realism or objectivity. This leads some ethnographers to propose alternative criteria for validation, such as participation and evocation, which offer alignment with realism; others suggest that scientific values of veridical observation should be replaced by the literary values of stylistic representation. This article argues that fictionalisation plays an essential and constructive role in both scientific and literary thinking and discourse to which philosophers have paid attention for centuries. In prioritising mediation between writer and reader rather than sociological description, ethnography may be considered from a cultural-historical perspective. How we make worlds out of our words becomes an important methodological question.
Translated title of the contribution'Somewhere between what is and what if: Fictionalisation and ethnographic inquiry'
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)31 - 43
Number of pages13
JournalChanging English
Volume18
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2011

Bibliographical note

Publisher: Routledge

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