The Premise and Promise of Institutional Ethnography

Research output: Contribution to conferenceConference Paper


Just what is institutional ethnography? How can young scholars understand its premise, promise, and potential for changing the conditions of our lives? And how can we, as scholars well-acquainted with IE, successfully introduce students to IE? This panel invites participation from IE scholars to debate and consider the foundations of institutional ethnography as a method for inquiry and how to invite students and junior scholars to take up that legacy. The goal of this panel is to bring what happens as murmurs, quiet unshared confusions and shy questions to the limelight to help build up the practice of IE.
For scholars interested in IE, understanding it as a conceptual framework for inquiry can be daunting. This often takes place during socialization into sociology as a social science, which emphasizes positivist understandings of the social world, and the presentation of qualitative research as intended to « build theory. »
Turning the panel organizers’ individual experiences of lacking IE support into a collective concern, we organize this panel to clarify these topics for our community and others interested to join. Collectively, trans-generationally and grounded in our own experiences, we will organize a discussion with participants from different parts of the world around the following questions: How can young scholars pause the impulse for theory-based thinking? How can we avoid using concepts such as “justice”, “racism” or « resistance » without explaining how they actually work? How can IE contribute to our disciplines and universities without compromising its foundations as a method for inquiry and a sociology in itself?
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 23 Feb 2021
EventPower, Violence and Justice: Reflections, Responses and Responsibilities - Metro Toronto Convention Centre, Toronto, Canada
Duration: 15 Jul 201821 Jul 2018
Conference number: XIX


ConferencePower, Violence and Justice: Reflections, Responses and Responsibilities
Abbreviated titleISA World Conference
Internet address


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