Guest Lecture, “Ethnography”, Michigan State University, HR & Labor Relations HRLR315 Research Methods

Human Resources & Labor Relations

HRLR315 Research Methods

Instructor: Kristie McAlpine

This lecture sought to answer the questions of: what is ethnography and what does it look like in practice? What is the power of ethnography in labor research? What does ethnography tell us about labor, work practices, power dynamics, intersectionality and the organizational setting? How can we use ethnographic understanding of workplace culture to improve it? How and what does ethnography open for analysts around the many concerns of: relations, identities, triangulating between human and non-human, power dynamics, centers of excellence, practices, work, labor, risks, hedging, formal and informal structures, fictions, futurisms, hopes, aspirations and care? Students engaged in exercises for building ethnographic field notes to explore the difference between master narratives and “thinking otherwise”, surfacing silenced voices and those who are spoken for, understanding the gap between words and actions, and reconciling multiple viewpoints.