alone or in teams

stephanie m huelster (huelster@STUDENTS.WISC.EDU)
Sat, 20 May 1995 10:58:27 -0600

In reading JMcCreery's post and subsequent responses, I am inspired to
comment that if we are talking strictly ethnography, too many interviewers
etc... may spoil the insight potential. HOWEVER, the need for more than one
definitive ethnography by one researcher and one view point is essential it
seems for a real, overall, picture of any culture. As far as the big
picture goes, multidisciplinary integration is important, and this is what
I see by 'working in teams' like 'real' scientists. In fact, the various
viewpoints approach seems to be one of the only ways to avoid the
criticisms of hyper reflexive postmodernism.
The comparison to a novelist is good as far as having an idea, a vision,
and needing to carry it out solo for it to be the most forceful, but is
ethnography really that close to fiction ? Most of what is still called
ethnography is based on Observation of actual phenomenae( the favorite pass
time of scientists), not fabricating potential situations, as in novel
writing. One person's observation is important, many observations are
essential. I can see the importance of each of the observations being made
one at a time, and not by several people in the same place all at once, but
if we allow the 'vision quest' method to stand, each person's observations
will be worth something in it's own right (good) but hard to integrate into
an overall explanation. Maybe the question is, how much input would you
allow in to your own work by others ? If anyone should be 'skilled' at the
integration of human ideas and behavior, it should be the Anthros....
SM Huelster
UW Madison