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Books that teach the art of analyzing a culture and are easy to read are rare. This book fills that gap by making it an everyday experience. For example, in the third chapter, 'Making the Familiar Strange,' the goal is to discover what is new and strange within homes of differing cultures. These small details help ethnographers understand what is going on in the lives of the people that they are studying. In another chapter, 'Sharing a Meal,' the authors point out how much can be learned by observing a mealtime with a family. The simple act of eating a meal together varies given the combination of cultural expectations and family histories; this is a real learning experience when viewed from an ethnographic perspective. The study of cultural ideals and mores is fraught with difficulties; the authors have broken this into basics that make ethnography doable and fun. Their examples help learners craft their studies step-by-step, as well as give advice on analysis that is both helpful and insightful. A well-researched and highly readable book for both social science and anthropological interests. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Most academic levels/libraries. CHOICE This is a wonderful handbook: the chapters are content rich, with a bevy of excellent examples. The authors offer concrete and specific attention to proceeding with research on cultural meaning, cultural objects, and cultural fields. It will be a valuable addition for any number of classes at both the undergraduate and graduate levels: qualitative methods, ethnography, a course on writing in the social sciences, or ones focused on culture, micro-sociology, and/or everyday life. -- Amy L. Best, George Mason University An easy-to-read and practical guide to understanding how anthropologists study the everyday and to what ends they apply their insights. It offers incredibly accessible writing, with short and straightforward chapters and clear examples. -- Georgina Drew, University of Adelaide Exploring Everyday Life is a book to be used, not simply read. The authors encourage us to be more conscious about the unconscious, to see how the ordinary in life is as important as the extraordinary in making us who we are. And they succeed in making ethnographic methods a widely accessible tool of both social analysis and quotidian engagement. Such considered and self-reflective observations of the commonplace not only afford not only a better understanding of the world but allow us to live better within it. -- David W. Montgomery, University of Pittsburgh A rare and wonderfully elaborate hands-on approach to ethnography and cultural analysis; this text is a source of inspiration on how to convert unnoticed everyday phenomena into cultural analysis. -- Morten Kyed, Aalborg UniversityReseña del editor:
The numerous tasks and routines that shape our daily existence can seem mundane, even invisible-and yet they play an extremely powerful role in structuring and reproducing society. Exploring Everyday Life casts light on these so-called trivialities, serving as both a guide to the invisible world of the everyday and an instruction manual for first-time explorers. Ehn, Lofgren, and Wilk demonstrate how to use a broad array of ethnographic tools to discover, map, and document new and unexplored territories and guide readers through the process of cultural analysis. Their concrete examples shed light on how a study or paper assignment can evolve and point to how cultural analysis of everyday life can be practically applied in business, government, and other arenas outside of academia.
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