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Tales of the Field: On Writing Ethnography (Chicago Guides to Writing, Editing, and Publishing) Paperback – May 15, 1988

ISBN-13: 978-0226849621 ISBN-10: 0226849627 Edition: 0th

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Tales of the Field: On Writing Ethnography (Chicago Guides to Writing, Editing, and Publishing) + The Hallowed Eve: Dimensions of Culture in a Calendar Festival in Northern Ireland (Irish Literature, History, and Culture)
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Product Details

  • Series: Chicago Guides to Writing, Editing, and Publishing
  • Paperback: 190 pages
  • Publisher: University of Chicago Press (May 15, 1988)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0226849627
  • ISBN-13: 978-0226849621
  • Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 5.5 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #890,143 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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28 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Michael Spivey, Ph.D. on September 8, 2001
Format: Paperback
I utilized Van Maanen's short, but essential text on writing ethnography throughout my dissertation ethnography research (now a book: Native Americans in the Carolina Borderlands: A Critical Ethnography, Carolinas Press, 2000). Unlike most "how to" texts on Ethnography, Tales of the Field focuses on writing as methodology. Van Maanen's writing is clear and concise. The reader is given several writing styles in ethnography, with ample examples from the author's, and other's, ethnographic writings. A great little book for fieldworkers, novice and veteran, as well as undergraduate and graduate students in research methods courses.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Andrew F. Herrmann on November 11, 2003
Format: Paperback
Van Maanen's Tales is an excellent and succinct primer on the various ways we write ethnographic research. Giving a rich history of the 'armchair ethnographer' of the early 20th century, he procedds to show how our conceptualizations of this great practice has evolved.
This is a great book to determine not necessarily what kind of ethnography you want to write, but is a great exploration on how ethnography can write you. Are you a modern classisist ethnographer? Are you a interpretive ethnographer? Are you a critical ethnographer? Reading this book opened my eyes to the different techniques and questions we ethnographers can ask. Better yet, by delving into the various questions and ideas posed, I found where my ethnographic 'being' is.
I rate this with the highest rating possible.
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4 of 50 people found the following review helpful By Dr. W. G. Covington, Jr. on November 4, 2004
Format: Paperback
How can someone trust an author who admits to cheating. Van Maanen writes, "In the academy, I helped cover for tardy classmates by concocting what I thought to be reasonable tales to tell superior officers. Several times I cheated on exams by passing my answer sheet around the back of the room (as I looked at others' answers sheets). These mostly mundane matters would hardly be worth mentioning were it not for the fact that they point to the difficulty, if not impossibility, of maintaining a clear cut and recognizable observational or participatory research role."

Having openly admitted to cheating in this instance, how could anything he writes be accepted as authentic? To me this is not a mundane matter, it goes to the heart of ethics. Van Maanen can write and tell a story, but how do we know his cheating isn't part of the plot.
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