QLR Presentation_Weis [PPT 256.50KB]

Exploring The Utility of
Longitudinal Ethnography:
Class Reunion and Class
Lois Weis
State University of New York Distinguished Professor
University at Buffalo, State University of New York
Keynote Prepared for Conference on Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Continuity and
Change: What Counts as Qualitative Longitudinal Research?
University of Southampton; University of Sussex; National Centre for Research Methods
November 15, 2012
This talk takes up ethnographic longitudinality
in relation to what Michelle Fine and I recently
call “critical bifocality”— a way of rendering
visible the relations between groups to
structures of power, to social policies, to history,
and to large sociopolitical formations. Here I
revisit Class Reunion: The Remaking of the
American White Working Class (Routledge,
2004), with an eye towards the “value added” of
long-term ethnographic research.
I will then briefly discuss findings from my
current study of affluent and elite students,
schools and parents, stressing the importance of
adding a longitudinal dimension to this study
(forthcoming, Class Warfare: Class and race in
affluent and elite secondary schools, with K.
Cipollone and H. Jenkins, University of Chicago)
To recap:
There are two things I will do today:
1)Revisit Class Reunion with an eye towards
reflecting on the utility of longitudinal
ethnography, and
2)Discuss my recent study of elite secondary
In closing, I raise questions regarding the extent
to which ethnographic longitudinality changes
our basic practices as researchers and faculty
Questions for all of us who are
interested in ethnographic
1)To what extent does longitudinal ethnography change our basic
ethnographic practice?
1)To what extent does ethnographic longitudinality alter research practices
given our own located positions in research universities/institutions of
higher education that are increasingly under surveillance in light of marked
pressures for accountability/productivity?
Stated more succinctly, what does engaging longitudinal ethnographic
investigation mean for our basic practices as researchers (storing data;
sharing data; research teams in the moment and over time), and our own
located practices within institutions of higher education?