Ethnographic-based PhD Struggle

posted
21-May-19, 11:39
edited about 12 seconds later
by Hattori
Avatar for Hattori
posted about 4 months ago
Hello,

I am currently writing up my ethnographic-based PhD but I have found I am struggling with write up and was looking from some advice. My main issue is that I fundamentally disagree with a lot of the 'social theory' literature commonly used (e.g. Bourdieu, Butler, extreme constructivism, etc.). I don't want to be in the situation of defending my thesis in a viva using theories that I don't particularly agree with, but I am also finding it difficult to find theorists/frameworks who work well with my thesis.

I have written and scrapped several draft chapters, mostly because I have gone down one theoretical path, only to realise I don't have faith in it as an overall model. I realise it is common to use multiple theoretic perspectives, but I also feel that mixing-and-matching too much makes the overall thesis appear weak.

Any recommendations on social theorists relevant to ethnography which have more of a 'real world' grounding (apologies for the vagueness) would be appreciated.

Many thanks.
posted
21-May-19, 17:24
edited about 6 seconds later
Avatar for bewildered
posted about 4 months ago
It may not be relevant to your thesis but might the institutionalist ethnographers be useful? Dorothy Smith and followers I mean. I'm just thinking that the ethnographic work I've read using variants of that has been more what it sounds like you are looking for.
posted
23-May-19, 00:33
by rewt
Avatar for rewt
posted about 4 months ago
Quote From Hattori:
Hello,

My main issue is that I fundamentally disagree with a lot of the 'social theory' literature commonly used (e.g. Bourdieu, Butler, extreme constructivism, etc.).


I am not an expert in ethnography at all. If your work doesn't agree with established theory, is it your work that is wrong or established theory? If you can defend your work, you can say that there is a flaw in established theory that needs to be reassessed. New theories are generally found when new work cannot be explained by old theory. I know it is bold to propose a new theory but if you are so fundamentally opposed make an argument against them instead of struggling to fit the data to the wrong theory.
posted
23-May-19, 22:57
edited about 9 seconds later
by Hattori
Avatar for Hattori
posted about 4 months ago
Thanks for the suggestions!

It's not so much that the established theory is 'wrong' in an objective sense, since as with a lot of things in social sciences I suppose it's down to perspective and which slant you want to take. I will take a look at the recommendations. Thanks!
posted
04-Jun-19, 06:32
edited about 9 seconds later
by lawlin
Avatar for lawlin
posted about 3 months ago
You can take a look at Feminist Standpoint Theory, which states that any choice of object of inquiry is influenced by one's standpoint--that is, where one stands in the socio-political world, as well as one's status and standpoint in the material world. It is not as relativistic as it sounds, though. It simply urges people to see the perils of claiming universal objectivity and applicability. They argue that any account/theory can only be partial, which is not a shortcoming since the human world is not so black and white as to be explained with one overarching theory.

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