Beyond the Case: The Logics and Practices of Comparative Ethnography

ISBN : 9780190608491

Corey M. Abramson; Neil Gong
336 ページ
156 x 235 mm

The social sciences have seen a substantial increase in comparative and multi-sited ethnographic projects over the last three decades. Yet, at present, researchers seeking to design comparative field projects have few scholarly works detailing how comparison is conducted in divergent ethnographic approaches. In Beyond the Case, Corey M. Abramson and Neil Gong have gathered together several experts in field research to address these issues by showing how practitioners employing contemporary iterations of ethnographic traditions such as phenomenology, grounded theory, positivism, and interpretivism, use comparison in their works. The contributors connect the long history of comparative (and anti-comparative) ethnographic approaches to their contemporary uses. By honing in on how ethnographers render sites, groups, or cases analytically commensurable and comparable, Beyond the Case offers a new lens for examining the assumptions, payoffs, and potential drawbacks of different forms of comparative ethnography.


Introduction: The Promise, Pitfalls, and Practicalities of Comparative Ethnography

Corey M. Abramson and Neil Gong

Section I: The Evolution of Classic Approaches to Comparison

Chapter 1: Foundations of the Behavioralist Approach to Comparative Participant Observation

Martin Sanchez-Jankowski and Corey M. Abramson

Chapter 2: Conducting Comparative Participant Observation: Behavioralist Procedures and Techniques

Corey M. Abramson and Martin Sanchez-Jankowski

Chapter 3: The Thematic Lens: A Formal and Cultural Framework for Comparative Ethnographic Analysis

Thomas DeGloma and Max Papadantonakis

Chapter 4: Comparative Ethnographic Views of Social Structure: The Challenge of Linking Micro and Macro Levels of Analysis

Aaron V. Cicourel

Section II: New and Existing Critical Approaches to Comparison

Chapter 5: An Ethnography of Comparative Ethnography: Pathways to Three Logics of Comparison

Ching Kwan Lee

Chapter 6: Critical Realism and Contrastive Ethnography: The Curious Case of Autism in Somali Refugee Communities

Claire Laurier Decoteau

Chapter 7: Sequential Comparisons and the Comparative Imagination

Iddo Tavory and Stefan Timmermans

Section III: Contextualizing Comparison

Chapter 8: Using Computational Tools to Enhance Comparative Ethnography: Lessons from Scaling Ethnography for Biomedicine

Daniel Dohan and Alissa Bernstein

Chapter 9: Elite Ethnography: Studying Up Or Down In US And French Sociology

Lynn S. Chancer

Chapter 10: A Dialog With Aaron Cicourel On Comparative Ethnography

Aaron V. Cicourel with Corey M. Abramson

Conclusion: A Comparative Analysis of Comparative Ethnographies

Neil Gong and Corey M. Abramson


Corey M. Abramson is Associate Professor of Sociology at University of Arizona. His research uses a combination of quantitative, qualitative and hybrid methods to understand how persistent social inequalities structure everyday life and are reproduced over time. His recent comparative ethnography on this topic is The End Game: How Inequality Shapes Our Final Years. The End Game has been awarded the 2016 Outstanding Publication Award by the American Sociological Association Section (ASA) on Aging and the Life Course, selected for an Author Meets Critic Session at ASA, and featured in national media outlets including The New York Times and The Atlantic. Abramsons current methodological works, including recent pieces in Sociological Methodology and Ethnography, focus on integrating computational techniques to improve the scalability, replicability, and transparency of large multi-site ethnographic projects conducted in accordance with realist principles.; Neil Gong is Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of California, San Diego, and currently a Junior Fellow at the University of Michigan Society of Fellows. His research uses diverse empirical cases to study power and social control in modernity, with a specific focus on understanding liberal social order. Neils forthcoming book project Mind and Matter: Madness and Inequality in Los Angeles is a comparative ethnography of public safety net and elite private psychiatric services in community settings. He has previously researched a no-rules libertarian fight club, and will next study the construction of free speech in everyday life. His articles have appeared in Social Problems, Theory and Society, and Ethnography.