Pub. date: 2011 | Online Pub. Date: October 04, 2011 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412994163 | Print ISBN: 9781412959636 | Online ISBN: 9781412994163| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Ethnography is a methodology with more than 100 years of history. It originated in the Western world as a particular form of knowledge about distant cultures (typically non-Western ones) that were previously largely unknown to the outside world, having had only fleeting contacts or brief conversations with some persons. After having entered several disciplines of the social sciences (anthropology, sociology, and psychology), in recent times ethnography has become an important tool in political science as well (where it takes the name of political ethnography ), as a part of interpretive methodologies and research. This entry discusses the origins and definitions of this method, its strengths and weaknesses, and its increasing relevance for political science. Defining a term is always difficult because there are as many definitions as there are different points of view. Paul Atkinson and Martyn Hammersley observe that the definition of the term ethnography has been subject Amid ...