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© VS Springer

Angelika Poferl / Norbert Schröer (Ed.)

Handbook of Sociological Ethnography

First published 2022, Wiesbaden: VS Springer

Ethnography is primarily concerned with the empirical research of social interactions, life-worlds, practices, institutional contexts, and cultural orientations. All data is collected through field research in a specific social setting, requiring the researcher to be co-present and to engage in observation as well as in long-term attendance and participation. The roots of ethnography can be traced back to ethnology and journalism, two approaches which the Chicago School picked up on in studies conducted from the 1910s to the 1930s in order to better describe the dynamics of a social reality that had increased in complexity. The studies resulted in the emergence of a sociological ethnography that focuses on the social and cultural distinctions within each society.

This handbook provides a systematic overview of initial positions, key approaches, debates, and differentiations regarding sociological ethnography as a research method. Furthermore, the publication traces the development of ethnographic research, starting with its historical origins in the late 19th and early 20th century, further covering advancements during the 1960s as well as pivotal modifications in the 1970s and 1980s while also looking at its contemporary multifariousness.


  • The Origins
  • Pioneer Stage – Expansion – Consolidations: Sociological Ethnography
  • Upheavals and Prolific Sources of Irritations
  • Diversification and Pluralization since the mid-1980s 
  • Special Programmatic, Methodological, and methodical Orientations


Dr. Angelika Poferl is Professor of General Sociology at the Faculty of Social Sciences at TU Dortmund University.

Dr. Norbert Schröer is retired Professor for Qualitative Methods of Empirical Social Research at the Faculty of Social and Cultural Sciences at Fulda University of Applied Sciences.

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