Exploring The Utility of Longitudinal Ethnography: Class Reunion and Class Warfare Lois Weis State University of New York Distinguished Professor University at Buffalo, State University of New York USA 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 schools. In closing, I raise questions regarding the extent to which ethnographic longitudinality changes our basic practices as researchers and faculty members. Questions for all of us who are interested in ethnographic longitudinality: 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?