Ethnographers of the World…United? Current Debates on the Ethnographic Study of Globalization

  • Pablo Lapegna SUNY, Stony Brook

Abstract

How does ethnography come to terms with our current global condition? Being a method characterized by its in-depth knowledge of a bounded space, how does ethnography cope with a world scale? How does the global condition affect the definitions of key ethnographic concepts? In this article, I first reconstruct ethnographic debates regarding the status of the global, showing how ethnography can contribute to a more nuanced understanding of the binary global/local. Then I review two projects that study global processes from an ethnographic point of view: multi-site ethnography (Marcus 1995) and global ethnography (Burawoy et al. 2000). I compare these two approaches along four dimensions: site, context, research design and reflexivity. I argue that while multi-site ethnography and global ethnography are often used interchangeably, each ultimately presents distinctive answers to key questions for the ethnographic study of global processes.
Published
2009-02-26
How to Cite
Lapegna, P. (2009). Ethnographers of the World…United? Current Debates on the Ethnographic Study of Globalization. Journal of World-Systems Research, 15(1), 3-24. https://doi.org/10.5195/jwsr.2009.336
Section
Methodological Issues in Macro Comparative Research