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Ethnography is a qualitative research method which originated in the field of anthropology where it was used to study cultures seen as ‘exotic’ or unfamiliar in ‘the Westrsquo;. The term ‘ethnography’ is used to describe both the research style and the ‘written product of that research activity’ (Atkinson, 1990: 3). The ‘Chicago School’ of urban sociologists – writers such as Howard Becker, Albert Cohen, Robert Park, Ned Polsky and William F. Whyte – who were prominent from the 1940s to the mid-1960s and were committed to symbolic interactionism, have also had a seminal influence on the development of the ‘genre’ of sociological ethnography (Atkinson, 1990). They helped to fix its focus on the micro community, subculture or sub-world.

The aim of ethnography is to comprehend the ...

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