Help an semi-autodidact learn to be a multidiscipline participant-observer
May 22, 2012 12:37 PM   Subscribe

I’m currently working on my masters in an Industrial/Occupational Psychology program. My main topic of interest will be differences in national, social, and organizational cultures. What sort of anthropological or ethnological resources or books can you recommend regarding learning how to be good participant-observer and the techniques to do so? I’m already familiar with the works on culture from researchers such as Geert Hofestede, Edward Hall, and Fons Trompenaars. If there are any other recommendations regarding relevant resources or texts in related fields that my compliment my studies, please let me know. My interests lie in psychology, sociology, and politics which I believe are applicable. Thanks in advance!
posted by Che boludo! to Society & Culture (5 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
There is some cross-over with sociolinguistics, cognitive theory, and other texts about culture. Try sociolinguistics as a keyword/ search term.
posted by MidSouthern Mouth at 12:47 PM on May 22, 2012

The books you named are classics, but won't be very practical. You need a good methods textbook.

I'm currently teaching qualitative research methods and have assigned Burg aNd Hennick et al. For texts and I'm pretty happy with them.
posted by k8t at 1:02 PM on May 22, 2012

Response by poster: Yes, it would be info on methods that I'm looking for. However, as I have little knowledge of anthropology, books on theory in this area would be useful as well.
posted by Che boludo! at 1:04 PM on May 22, 2012

Emerson, Fretz and Shaw has a lot of good practical tips on how to take good fieldnotes.
posted by col_pogo at 1:10 PM on May 23, 2012

I should also mention that anthropologists, who like to imagine that they own "culture" as an analytical concept, have also delivered a lot of scathing critiques of the ways that culture gets instrumentalized in policy, in business, and by social scientists (including anthropologists).

I haven't read it, but your mention of Hofstede reminded me of Seeing Culture Everywhere, a book aimed at a general audience. The two anthropologist authors apparently take on Hofstede directly; in this blog post they discuss how much they enjoy lampooning his "cultural dimensions" work. Their book hasn't made big waves in anthropology, but this review suggests that may be because it doesn't add to the debate on culture so much as summarize it for non-anthropologists. Since they deal directly with Hofstede it be a good book for you to mine for references.

I'm probably embarrassing myself and forgetting scads of important texts, but I'd say if you only have time to read one article on anthropological critiques of culture read Gupta and Ferguson's Beyond "Culture" from 1992.

Joanne Martin's Mapping the terrain is a good primer on organization culture studies from someone with a business school background.
posted by col_pogo at 1:34 PM on May 23, 2012

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