CRESC Seminar- The 'Manchester School': Legacies, Traditions and the Future of Ethnography
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Monday, June 14, 2010 - 14:33The Penthouse Suite Manchester Business School
Lupton’s On The Shop Floor is widely regarded as one of the seminal statements of workplace or organizational ethnography. Schooled in the traditions of Manchester social anthropology its influence on the sociology of work and more recent critical business and management studies has been profound. However, On The Shop Floor reflects a curious narrowing in the scope of anthropological research that undoubtedly neglects important dimensions of the Manchester school of social anthropology. The definition and understanding of ‘organization’ is perhaps one of the ways in which we might identify this de-limitation. What counts as work, or “the worker” also represents a difficult but important definitional difference across disciplinary divides. Questions more epistemological and ontological in nature also lie at the heart of this differential uptake of ethnographic practice. This workshop puts in question the legacy and traditions of the Manchester social anthropology to address ways in which the future of ethnographic practice might develop in the wake of Gluckman and his school.
Today, work and organization is variously sub-contracted, fragmented, distributed, globalised, transient, virtual, and assembled ‘just-in-time’. For some the workplace might be something as apparently mundane as a road, or it might be the city, the London Olympic Park, global media, or the various forms of virtual and electronic landscapes. It could be ‘liminal’ spaces between public and private, the emerging National Health Service in the UK, or corporate museums and the work of ‘history’ which are becoming new forms of ‘workplace’. If the object of study has become more complicated and unreliable, the subject of ethnography and its methods have also become complicated by various feminist, linguistic, and post-colonial ‘turns’ that diversify and proliferate the styles of ethnographic enquiry. Such trends have sought ever more radical modes of reflexivity and deconstruction in an effort to open up hitherto obscured forms of power, politics and control. What is the relation between the phenomena of study and ethnographic method? What does the Manchester school teach us about this relation and what ethnographic futures might be forged out of a dialogue between business schools, sociology and anthropology?
The workshop and its discussions will be framed around four key presentations or ‘interventions’ delivered by important figures in the Manchester school of social anthropology and contemporary ethnographic research. Professor Richard Werbner will talk about the key personnel in the Manchester School and the distinctive principles of their approach to anthropology. Dr Gillian Evans will present reflections on ethnographic practice in the light of her ongoing research on the Olympic park legacy. Dr Paula Hyde willspeak about ethnography as a form in business and management studies with reference to her research in mental health organisations. Dr Daniel Neyland will pose and question the value of reflexivity as a practice in ethnographic research. Numbers are strictly limited to 25 and early booking is recommended.
Organized by the Centre for Research in Socio-Cultural Change (CRESC) and the Centre for Critical Management Studies at the Manchester Business School.
Registration from 9.30 am. Lunch and refreshments are provided. To book a place please email to; firstname.lastname@example.org