Ethnographic knowledge in political decision-making – what’s the point?

We are organizing a session related to the topics of our research project in the NEFK2018 conference in Uppsala. The call for papers is open until the 15th of January, 2018.

Ethnographic knowledge in political decision-making – what’s the point?

Ethnographic research is often presented in a way that may not open up to readers outside our field as it does to those more familiar with the conventions of ethnographic writing. We have a tendency to explain issues we have studied in a very complex and multidimensional way when trying to provide the reader with as much information as possible to reason for our case in question. Ethnographic research, by its very nature, calls for a holistic approach towards what we are focusing on in our studies, but it may be difficult to sum up our most important arguments. So should we pay more attention to practices and means of presenting ethnographic knowledge, especially when we are dealing with parties outside the academia?

In a world of “alternative facts” it is important “get out there” with what we are doing. Ethnographic knowledge can open up new perspectives and offer invaluable insights on issues being discussed and decided in the field of politics but how can we promote it in a way that is more focused, e.g. easier to grasp for those not so familiar with ethnographic writing. How can we make our knowledge and ways of producing it more easily available and better achievable in the context of decision making?

We welcome papers presenting experiences and practices of making good use of ethnographic knowledge for the benefit of the society at large, whether in social services, integration policies, urban planning or health care, to name a few examples. Papers discussing how application of ethnographic knowledge in contexts other than academia affects the research process in general are invited as well in this session.


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