UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The ethnographic possibility Michalko, Rod


The following work is a formulation of ethnography, and as such, should not be conceived of as a characterization of, description of, or commentary upon ethnography. This is to say that ethnography is not conceived of here as subject matter, i.e., ethnography is not conceived of here as matter to be engaged descriptively. Instead, ethnography is conceived of here as a form of inquiry and so, our engagement with ethnography can be formulated as an engagement with inquiry. We understand ethnography as a concrete instance of inquiry that is conducted under the auspices of an authoritative version of inquiry. Further, we understand that any inquiry, including ethnography, forgets, in the Platonic sense, the authority under which it is done and from which it receives its possibility. In this sense, we do not address ethnography concretely, but instead we address ethnography analytically. This is to say that what we address is the analytic possibility of ethnography. Thus, we treat ethnography as a text, as speech, and our inquiry seeks to formulate the authority, the grounds, under which that speech is spoken. In this sense, we conceive of any speech, including our own speech, as simultaneously covering over its authoritative grounds and recommending those grounds as an authoritative version of inquiry. So we treat ethnography not concretely but as an occasion for us to display our grounds, our authoritative version of inquiry. Thus, what collects our work is a commitment to formulating the grounds of speech and thus a commitment to displaying that very commitment. In Chapter 1 we address the notion of speech and the essential distinction between speech and language. Chapters 2 and 3 are devoted to a discussion of the topicality and deep interest of speech. We then exemplify the argument presented in Chapters 1, 2 and 3 by addressing, more directly, the possibility of ethnography in Chapters 4, 5 and 6. Finally, Chapter 7 is given over to the formulation of the idea of inquiry itself.

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