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Workplace ethnographies – an underestimated source of subject-oriented work research

Andrea Gabler

International Journal of Action Research, 2015, vol. 11, issue 1-2, 119-145

Abstract: The article tries to argue why workplace ethnographies, with their deep immersion into daily social action, are more than other approaches appro-priate to illuminate hidden and subjective levels of work. Insofar they should be more picked up by the current debates on subjectivation, subjec-tivity and informal organisation of work in German sociology of work and industrial sociology. A cursory view of the rich tradition of ethnographic research and of examples within the anglophone language area will show the methodical and factual gains of this approach. The US-American “Workplace Ethnography Project” demonstrates an interesting way to de-duce more general insights and patterns from ethnographic case studies. Exemplary findings can be linked to the German debate. Finally a view on one of the few German ethnographic studies will show its value to the analysis of subjectivity, subjectivation and informal organisation of work: and gives reasons for pursuing similar research.

Keywords: workplace ethnography; subjectivation of work; informal organisation of work; transformation of work; subject-oriented work research (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: A13 J11 J21 J24 J53 J61 J71 J82 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2015
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