Ethnography Dances Back

  • Helen Thomas


The aim of this chapter, in line with recent developments in sociology and cultural theory, is to bring ethnography back into the picture through an exploration of some of the central issues to emerge out of postmodern and feminist ethnography. Case studies of dance forms, practices and events will be drawn on with a view to considering the challenges they raise for participant observation studies and for the study of the body. Thus, it will build on the previous chapter by refocusing theory towards the problems associated with conducting empirical research. The discussion will also draw on the ‘ethnographic critique of ethnography’ within sociology in order to draw out some of the emergent questions that confront the dance ethnographer regarding the nature of description and representation, and explanation and verification. To begin with, it is necessary to give some indication of the extent to which ethnography has been used within the social sciences and cultural studies.


Social Drama Cultural Theory Ethnographic Research Bodily Practice Dance Event 
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© Helen Thomas 2003

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  • Helen Thomas

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