Ethnography of Everyday Life: Ethnography of Everyday Life
Ethnography is a fundamental method within the social sciences that concerns the systematic study of culture. It involves a "thick description" of how people actually life their everyday lives, personal or professional. Ethnographers study how human groups from institutions, and how these structures grow, function, maintain themselves, and persist. Also at issue is how people share their understandings and develop ideologies pertaining to these processes. Social negotiation and the development of "local knowledge" in the culture of interpersonal affairs will be emphasized, particularly as it is transmitted from one generation to the next. Through direct observation and discussion, students will treat Philadelphia as an "urban laboratory" and seek to identify, study and learn about local people and places. In this vein, the class will visit communities and organizational settings to gain exposure to ordinary people, but particularly to apply ethnographic methods to the complexities of the modern workplace, as well as to the everyday life of the city. The final paper will be a synthesis of ethnographic literature and observations of local urban life and culture, particularly as these issues apply to understanding an organizational or a local community. This class will meet on the following Saturdays: July 7, July 14, July 21 and July 28, and on one evening whose date will be determined by the class.