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Title: The use of ethnography to explore meanings that refuse collectors attach to their work
Authors: Simpson, A.
Slutskaya, N.
Hughes, Jason R. A.
Simpson, R.
First Published: 2-Sep-2014
Publisher: Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Citation: Qualitative Research in Organizations and Management, 2014, 9 (3), pp. 183-200 (17)
Abstract: Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to detail how the ethnographic approach can be usefully adopted in the context of researching dirty or undesirable work. Drawing on a study of refuse collectors, it shows how ethnography can enable a fuller social articulation of the experiences and meanings of a social group where conventional narrative disclosure and linguistic expression may be insufficient. Design/methodology/approach – Viewing ethnography as no one particular method, but rather a style of research that is distinguished by its objectives to understand the social meanings and activities of people in a given “field” or setting, this paper highlights aspects of reproductive and “dirty” work which may be hidden or difficult to reveal. Combining the methods of participant observation, photographic representation and interviews, we add to an understanding of dirty work and how it is encountered. We draw on Willis and Trondman's (2002) three distinguishing characteristics namely, recognition of theory, centrality of culture and critical focus to highlight some meanings men give to their work. Findings – By incorporating these issues of theory, culture and reflexivity throughout the research process, this paper highlights how Willis and Trondman's (2002) approach aids the ethnographic objective and is crucial to the understanding of representation and experience. Originality/value – As such, the value of this paper can be understood in terms of developing a further understanding of dirty work, which incorporates an ethnographic process and interpretation, to achieve “rich data” on the dirty work experience.
DOI Link: 10.1108/QROM-01-2013-1133
ISSN: 1746-5648
Version: Post-print
Status: Peer-reviewed
Type: Journal Article
Rights: Archived with reference to SHERPA/RoMEO. This article is (c) Emerald Group Publishing and permission has been granted for this version to appear here (LRA, version of record: Emerald does not grant permission for this article to be further copied/distributed or hosted elsewhere without the express permission from Emerald Group Publishing Limited.
Appears in Collections:Published Articles, Dept. of Sociology

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