Publisher description for Ethnography and human development : context and meaning in social inquiry / edited by Richard Jessor, Anne Colby, and Richard A. Shweder.


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Studies of human development have taken an ethnographic turn in the 1990s. In this volume, leading anthropologists, psychologists, and sociologists discuss how qualitative methodologies have strengthened our understanding of cognitive, emotional, and behavioral development, and of the difficulties of growing up in contemporary society.

Part 1, informed by a post-positivist philosophy of science, argues for the validity of ethnographic knowledge. Part 2 examines a range of qualitative methods, from participant observation to the hermeneutic elaboration of texts. In Part 3, ethnographic methods are applied to issues of human development across the life span and to social problems including poverty, racial and ethnic marginality, and crime.

Restoring ethnographic methods to a central place in social inquiry, these twenty-two lively essays will interest everyone concerned with the epistemological problems of context, meaning, and subjectivity in the behavioral sciences.




Library of Congress subject headings for this publication: Ethnology Methodology Congresses, Ethnology Philosophy Congresses, Human behavior Congresses, Developmental psychology Congresses, Social epistemology Congresses