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The University of Southampton
Centre for Political Ethnography

Stranger in Town: political science and ethnography

Published: 3 December 2018

The Centre of Political Ethnography at the University of Southampton welcomes everyone interested to a lecture by Professor Rod Rhodes titled "Stranger in Town: political science and ethnography". The lecture will take place on Monday the 3rd of December 2018 Building 4 (Law) Room 4005 at 12:30. Please read an abstract of the lecture below.

"The dominant research idiom of much present-day political science in Britain and America is rooted in rational choice theory and quantitative studies. It seeks to emulate the natural sciences. Back in 1990, Richard Fenno observed ‘not enough political scientists are presently engaged in observation’, and little has changed. Political science has yet to embrace ethnography and participant observation. This presentation will show that ethnography can make a substantial contribution to the study of political elites by reporting briefly fieldwork on everyday life in British government departments, and on the Chiefs of Staff to Australian Prime Ministers. It will also discuss the problems of studying-up, and the challenges of being a bricoleur, bringing an ethnographic sensibility to bear on data collected during hit-and-run fieldwork."

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