Strategic turns labeled 'ethnography': From description to openly ideological production of cultures

Mirka Koro-Ljungberg, Thomas Greckhamer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


In this article we suggest that strategic turns shape various contemporary uses of ethnography and reflect the exploration of ontological, epistemological, and methodological alternatives. In addition, these strategic turns are aimed to meet the current challenges influenced by changing cultures and their diverse perceptions faced by an increasing number of qualitative researchers. The goal of description that has characterized one end of ethnographical continuum such as classical ethnography is replaced by the goal of producing ideologically open texts, as exemplified in more contemporary forms of ethnography such as critical ethnography. Instead of viewing culture as descriptive object, contemporary ethnographers practice disrupted ethnographies that openly declare their ideological productions and reproductions of cultures. In this article we draw particular attention to two forms of disrupted ethnography and types of ideological approaches: critical and deconstructive. Last, we put forward a discussion of what ethnography is and how it could be epistemologically produced, suggesting that it may serve as an ambiguous, but highly legitimate label for presenting a complex variety of epistemologically and theoretically different approaches to qualitative research. In particular, we consider various influences of power when exploring the field of ethnographies, labels, and contemplating 'What is ethnography?'

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)285-306
Number of pages22
JournalQualitative Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Epistemology
  • Ethnography
  • Qualitative methods
  • Theory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • History and Philosophy of Science


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