Originally published in , it was the one of the first works to detail and critically analyze the various styles and narrative conventions associated with written representations of culture. This is a book about the deskwork of fieldwork and the various ways culture is put forth in print. The core of the work is an extended discussion and illustration of three forms or genres of cultural representation—realist tales, confessional tales, and impressionist tales. The novel issues raised in Tales concern authorial voice, style, truth, objectivity, and point-of-view.
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Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. Want to Read saving…. Want to Read Currently Reading Read. Other editions. Enlarge cover. Error rating book. Refresh and try again. Open Preview See a Problem? Details if other :. Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. Originally published in , it was the one of the first works to detail and critically analyze the various styles and narrative conventions associated with written representations of culture.
This is a book about the deskwork of fieldwork and the various ways culture is put forth in print. The core of the work is an extended discussion and illustration of three forms or genres of cultural representation—realist tales, confessional tales, and impressionist tales. The novel issues raised in Tales concern authorial voice, style, truth, objectivity, and point-of-view.
Over the years, the work has both reflected and shaped changes in the field of ethnography. Refreshingly humorous and accessible, Tales of the Field remains an invaluable introduction to novices learning the trade of fieldwork and a cornerstone of reference for veteran ethnographers.
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Lists with This Book. This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Community Reviews. Showing Average rating 3. Rating details. More filters. Sort order. Feb 29, Jono rated it really liked it. Dec 05, Caitlin rated it liked it Recommends it for: qualtitative researchers. Shelves: booksforschool , booksfordiss , , nonfiction. Written in , this book is considered a classic account of how to report ethnographic research data. Writing ethnography was historically considered a matter of "style," but Van Maanen challenges this notion and presents three methods for writing up fieldwork and participant observation data.
Feb 19, Sharon Barrow Wilfong rated it liked it. This book was not exactly what I was expecting. Some of it was a bit dry and esoteric. I assume this is a text book used in college classrooms.
However, it was not without value. The author describes first what ethnography is, i. He then devotes a chapter to the various sorts of ethnographic writing.
He concludes by saying that ethnographers, should probably not only be anthropologists or sociologists but learn the different ap This book was not exactly what I was expecting.
He concludes by saying that ethnographers, should probably not only be anthropologists or sociologists but learn the different approaches to writing about their subject. I assumed that ethnography would limit itself to culture types, tribes in the jungle, etc..
While some want to draw conclusions about poverty and hence spends time with a group of families that live in a poor neighborhood, others may want to study a drug culture, or Muslims in the Phillippines. The author gives examples from his own research with a police department he spend several months with. There are a variety of approaches to ethnography. The Realist Tales, as he calls them involve a third person supplying only facts based on his observations. They relate more to types and groups rather than individuals.
Confessional Tales are a more honest approach where the ethnographer admits in the beginning he was looking for specific facts in order to support his theory. For instance, one author studied a group of people living under the poverty line, with a Marxist slant already in place. However, he discovered that some of his conclusions were wrong.
He therefore "confesses" his personal involvement and agenda in his tale. Impressionist Tales are probably the most interesting. This is where the author includes himself, sometimes as a participant in the story, but primarily this is a method where the ethnographers "shows" rather than "tells". This is currently a popular and effective way to write non fiction. For instance, Mark Bowden's book "Hue A Turning Point in the American War in Vietnam" could be classified as an Impressionist Tale since he not only creates a documentary of the soldiers and civilians in Vietnam involved in the battle at Hue, but provides dialogue and action.
For each type of tale, Van Maanen gives examples of his own field research with the police force he spent time with. If someone is interested in anthropology or sociology, it would behoove them to read books like this one in order to gain an idea of how to effectively write about their subject matter. This is an extended rumination of various forms of ethnography, and the nature of different kinds of "tales" that ethnographers can tell. The book is heavy on theory, and lacks practical writing advice for those trying to write a dissertation or first book.
However, it is an important theoretical contribution to the field and an important counterweight to Writing Culture. Overall, I recommend this to all students of cultural anthropology, especially the very useful epilogue in the second edition This is an extended rumination of various forms of ethnography, and the nature of different kinds of "tales" that ethnographers can tell.
Overall, I recommend this to all students of cultural anthropology, especially the very useful epilogue in the second edition. Jan 12, Trish Bodine rated it really liked it. Van Maanen did an excellent job of sorting many of the various types of ethnographies. He provided information on how each ethnographer would gather, coalesce, and publish findings, WITH examples of how it would look in the real world.
Van Maanen also has a wicked dry sense of humor, so that helps make the read an easier one. Mar 24, Ann Yanchura rated it it was amazing. How can a text like this be amusing? And yet it was. I was entertained and surprised by Van Maanen's writing. Even better, this has given me some ideas for my own writing. Jan 07, Kelly rated it liked it Shelves: masters-program. Ethnography is not my favorite subject so I am a bit biased in my review.
I honestly skipped whole huge parts of the book. Tales of the Field: On Writing Ethnography Maanen, John Van required text for college courses in australia, looked at the ideas of learning about culture with an open mind. Jan 04, Nicole added it. There is a funny story of a police chase. Meiver rated it really liked it Apr 07, Kristine Slotina rated it really liked it May 20, Sam Ladner rated it liked it Sep 29, Julia rated it liked it Dec 14, Rachel Nickens rated it really liked it Apr 20, Stephane Ethier rated it it was amazing May 16, Alan Cordova rated it did not like it Aug 28, Lorena Gibson rated it really liked it Jan 24, Mark Hawker rated it really liked it May 09, Victoria rated it it was amazing Oct 21, Robert rated it really liked it Jan 29, Yu Shaun rated it really liked it Mar 03, Cassidy Pyle rated it really liked it Mar 01, Hooman Attar rated it it was amazing Feb 27, Melanie rated it really liked it Feb 26, Kris rated it really liked it Feb 16,
Tales of the Field
Even though I strongly recommend NOT to do any work during your holidays, I had the pleasure of spending my holidays taking care of my 8 and 5 year old nephews, and during the time during which they allowed me to work, I basically caught up on my reading. One of the books I really enjoyed and spent a few days reading was one of the classics of ethnography: Van Maanen, John. Tales of the Field. On Writing Ethnography.
Tales of the Field: On Writing Ethnography
Tales of the Field : On Writing Ethnography. John Van Maanen. Once upon a time ethnographers returning from the field simply sat down, shuffled their note cards, and wrote up their descriptions of the exotic and quaint customs they had observed. Today scholars in all disciplines are realizing how their research is presented is at least as important as what is presented. Questions of voice, style, and audience--the classic issues of rhetoric--have come to the forefront in academic circles.