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Critical ethnography, the Theory of Social Practice and Pierre Bourdieu: An Interview with Marion Jones 

Lynne S. Giddings, RGON, RM, PhD, Associate Professor School of Nursing, Auckland University of Technology

Pamela J. Wood, RGON, PhD, Associate Professor Graduate School of Nursing and Midwifery, Victoria University of Wellington 

Giddings, L. S., & Wood, P. J. (2004). Critical ethnography, the theory of social practice and Pierre Bourdieu: An interview with Marion Jones. Nursing Praxis in New Zealand, 20(1), 4-14.

Abstract

Critical ethnography is one of the more methodologically creative approaches to nursing and midwifery research as it combines aspects of two different research paradigms, the interpretive and the radical/critical. It focuses on making visible the ‘taken-for-granted’ aspects of a cultural group and power interplays within it. This methodology is particularly useful for research questions that explore practice. This is the eleventh article in a series based on interviews with nursing and midwifery researchers, designed to offer the beginning researcher a first-hand account of the experience of using particular methodologies. This article focuses on critical ethnography as interpreted by Marion Jones (RGON, MA, PhD) in interview. Marion is Associate Dean Post Graduate in the Faculty of Health at the Auckland University of Technology. For her PhD thesis Marion used the theoretical positioning of Pierre Bourdieu [1930 - 2002] to guide her use of critical ethnography to explore how different health professionals shape team practice. 

Key Words: Research, methodologies, critical ethnography, Bourdieu 

Introduction

Critical ethnography is becoming more widely used in nursing and midwifery research as a methodology to explore issues that involve groups and the power interplay within them. The methodology is a hybrid as it combines approaches from two research paradigms - ethnography from the interpretive and a critical approach from the radical/critical paradigm (refer to Grant & Giddings (2002) for an overview of a useful paradigmatic framework). This article, the eleventh in a series based on interviews with nursing and midwifery researchers, offers the beginning researcher a brief introduction to this research approach (refer to Giddings & Wood (2000) for background information on the series). It gives an initial overview of ethnography and how the inclusion of a critical perspective is a useful way for making visible the complex power interplays involved in cultural groups. An interview with Marion Jones, Associate Dean Post Graduate in the Faculty of Health at the Auckland University of Technology, will then explore how one researcher used this approach. For her PhD thesis Marion used the theoretical positioning of Pierre Bourdieu [1930 - 2002] to guide her use of critical ethnography to explore how different health professionals shape team practice.

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