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'We must put ourselves in the position of the subject who tries to find his way in this world, and we must remember, first of all, that the environment by which he is influenced and to which he adapts himself is his world, not the objective world of science.'

W.I. Thomas
and
F. Znaniecki

Qualitative Sociology Review
2006
Volume II Issue 2


Author-Supplied Abstracts & Keywords


Yeslam Al-Saggaf
     Charles Sturt University and Centre for Applied Philosophy and
     Public Ethics, Australia
     Kirsty Williamson
     Monash University and Charles Sturt University, Australia

Doing ethnography from within a constructivist paradigm to explore virtual communities in Saudi Arabia

Most of the studies in the recent literature focus on the method used but not the philosophy behind it. This article focuses on doing ethnography, from within a constructivist paradigm, to explore individuals' participation in virtual communities in Saudi Arabia. An aim of this article is to highlight how particular ethnographic techniques, viz unobtrusive observation and participation, were used in that study. The article argues that doing ethnography in this way allowed for placing the results within the social and cultural context of Saudi society. The article, which includes a sample of the findings from the two techniques involved for illustration, concludes that the one-year unobtrusive observation and the eight months' participation in two different but similar virtual communities, during the period 2001-2002, have produced findings that are deep, meaningful and rich in description.

Keywords:
Ethnography; constructivist paradigm; constructivist ethnography; unobtrusive observation; NVIVO; virtual communities; Saudi Arabia; Saudi women.
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Bruce Arnold
     University of Calgary, Canada

Anticipatory Dying: Reflections Upon End of Life Experiences in a Thai Buddhist Hospice

Death and dying offer an important paradox for investigation. Both are feared and to be avoided but also generate considerable reverence, curiosity and mystery. The latter is investigated through thick ethnographic data collected in a Thai Buddhist hospice and the following pages provide some description of an alternative cultural-spiritual framing of anticipating death. The former part of this paradox is explored using detailed autoethnographic-autobiographical data arising from the cognitive-emotional conflict between the researcher's cultural schemata and the phenomena in which the research process is embedded. Sociological speculations are offered as to the value and insights of this methodological approach and to anticipating dying as an important phenomenon for further inquiry into everyday social life.

Keywords:
Autoethnography; autobiography; palliative care; cognitive sociology; death and dying.
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Val Gillies
     London South Bank University, UK
     Rosalind Edwards
     London South Bank University, UK

A Qualitative Analysis of Parenting and Social Capital: Comparing the Work of Coleman and Bourdieu

This paper will present an empirically based analysis of parenting in order to critically examine the work of two major social capital theorists. The work of James S. Coleman and Pierre Bourdieu is much cited, but while both focus on the links between individuals, families and wider social structures, their theories are based on very different interpretations of social capital and its implications. Drawing on qualitative data from a UK based qualitative study of parenting resources this paper will critically assess each theory using case studies. We argue that these two approaches allude to different social resources, with Coleman's work representing the tightly bonded solidarities more often found among working class communities, while Bourdieu focuses on the more diffuse, instrumental networking most associated with the middle classes.

Keywords:
parenting; social capital; family; Coleman; Bourdieu.
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Noriko Milman
     University of California at Los Angles, USA
     Jerome Rabow
     University of California at Los Angles, USA

Identifying with the Role of "Other": "The Pink Triangle Experiment" Revisited

The present study examines the impact of a politically-charged symbol on the everyday interactions of student-participants. Auto-ethnographic data gathered by undergraduate students donning a pink triangle pin indicates that participants often became identified with a gay/lesbian identity and were subsequently "othered". Students' testimonies highlight how the othering process prompted greater understanding of the struggles of gay men and lesbians, as well as other historically disenfranchised groups. Finally, their writings indicate that the experiment served as an exercise in self-reflection and in some cases, produced sentiments of self-empowerment.

Keywords:
experiential learning; gay and lesbian; identity; identity management; stigma; self and society; social oppression.
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Robert A. Kenedy
     York University, Canada

Researching the Intersection between Collective Identity and Conceptions of Post-separation and Divorced Fatherhood: A Case Study. Fathers For Justice, Fathers For Just Us, or Fathers are Us?

This article explores the methodological implications of investigating the collective identity of Fathers For Justice (FFJ). More specifically, a three-pronged approach of employing participant observation, interviews, and content analysis is assessed as the basis for understanding FFJ's collective identity. This methodological approach reveals that meanings and practices related to post-separation and divorced fatherhood as well as the importance of children are a significant dimension of a FFJ collective identity. I conclude that an important part of the FFJ collective identity is not based on these activists perceiving themselves as self-serving (Fathers for Just Us), but as those seeking equality in terms of being recognized as continous parents after separation and divorce (Fathers are Us).

Keywords:
Fathers rights movement; collective identity; participant observation; interviews; content analysis.
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Baudouin Dupret
     Institut Français du Proche-Orient, Syria

Morality on Trial: Structure and Intelligibility System of a Court Sentence Concerning Homosexuality

This article analyses the structural organization of a ruling issued by an Egyptian court in the trial known as the "Queen Boat case", where several people were arrested on the ground of their alleged homosexuality. With the text, and only the text, as data, it aims at making explicit the possibilities open to potential readers of the ruling. The praxiological study of texts constitutes a relatively new domain of inquiry in which texts are considered as produced objects whose intelligibility is structured and organized in a way that provides instructions for the texts' reading and accounts for their author's worldview and purposes. The article briefly presents the Egyptian legal and judicial system. Then, through close observation of each of the constitutive elements and organizational features of the ruling, it shows how this text serves as a vehicle for a limited number of possible logical options. In other words, it describes aspects of the practical grammar of written legal adjudication. Finally, in conclusion, some remarks are formulated concerning rulings as instructed reading of cases submitted to judicial review.

Keywords:
Law; ruling; praxiological study of texts; instructed action; intelligibility systems and ressources; institutional context; legal relevance; procedural correctness; legal characterization.
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Alexander Kozin
     Freie Universität Berlin, Germany

The Body Artist. An Experience of the Sur-Real in the Context of the Embodied and Aesthetic Abnormality

In this essay I explore a possibility of experiential synthesis of an abnormal body of a Contergan person with an aesthetic image of the visual body. For a method, the essay uses phenomenology; I therefore lean in on the studies of embodiment conducted by Edmund Husserl and Maurice Merleau-Ponty. In turn, Max Ernst introduces an aesthetic modality of the artistic body. A personal narrative about meeting sur-real bodies serves as a frame for theorizing abnormality. The study reveals how the encounter with the abnormal ways of constitution suspends normality toward producing sur-real effects.

Keywords:
body; abnormality; phenomenology; surrealism.
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Frank Nutch
     Trent University, Canada

The 35mm Solution: Photography, Scientists, and Whales

The field technique of photographic identification enabled scientists to individually identify and follow cetacea (whales, dolphins, and porpoises) through their life-cycle. Photographic identification relies on portable, high-quality photographic equipment and the naturally occurring markings of individual whales. Being able to identify cetacea individually has enabled scientists to engage in long-term field studies comparable to field studies of land mammals. Further, carrying out long-term field studies has contributed to an exponential growth of scientific knowledge of cetacea and has significantly altered the public's connection(s) to scientists and cetacea. This article is based on interviews, published material, and observations made by the author at different research settings. It describes how photography and the use of naturally occurring markings of individual cetacea combined to produce photographic identification as a research technique. As a study within the sociology of science and scientific knowledge, this article highlights the emergent character of scientific research; that is, the emergent confluence of cumulative knowledge, theory, method, and empirical observation.

Keywords:
Animal studies; anthropomorphism; fieldwork; naming; photographic identification of cetacean; reliability and validity; sociology of science and scientific knowledge.
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