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Composing ethnographic texts: how to use stylistic and argumentative techniques properly


Menzfeld, Mira (2021). Composing ethnographic texts: how to use stylistic and argumentative techniques properly. EthnoScripts. Zeitschrift für aktuelle ethnologische Studien, 23(1):92-115.

Abstract

Being a good ethnographer means, amongst other things, not forgetting the future
reader during the writing process. This article discusses one possible approach for
crafting reader-friendly ethnographies. I review basic strategies for creating stringent
and straightforward texts, drawing on the journalistic canon of Reportage writing, and
sketch how I personally apply or modify these techniques when composing an eth-
nography. I address elements such as clear formulation, coherent argumentation, ad-
equate pars pro toto scenes, vivid language, and the difficult terrain of symbols and
metaphors. I also suggest steps for reworking the first draft of the text. I conclude by
arguing that cultivating and cherishing a recipient-friendly communication style is vital
for the public visibility of cultural and social anthropology.

Abstract

Being a good ethnographer means, amongst other things, not forgetting the future
reader during the writing process. This article discusses one possible approach for
crafting reader-friendly ethnographies. I review basic strategies for creating stringent
and straightforward texts, drawing on the journalistic canon of Reportage writing, and
sketch how I personally apply or modify these techniques when composing an eth-
nography. I address elements such as clear formulation, coherent argumentation, ad-
equate pars pro toto scenes, vivid language, and the difficult terrain of symbols and
metaphors. I also suggest steps for reworking the first draft of the text. I conclude by
arguing that cultivating and cherishing a recipient-friendly communication style is vital
for the public visibility of cultural and social anthropology.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:01 Faculty of Theology and the Study of Religion > Institute of Religious Studies
Dewey Decimal Classification:200 Religion
Uncontrolled Keywords:Ethnographic writing, ethnography, style, argumentation, cultural anthropology
Language:English
Date:2021
Deposited On:09 Nov 2021 11:02
Last Modified:09 Nov 2021 11:02
Publisher:Universität Hamburg. Institut für Ethnologie
ISSN:1438-5244
OA Status:Green
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Official URL:https://journals.sub.uni-hamburg.de/ethnoscripts/article/view/1665/1518
Related URLs:https://journals.sub.uni-hamburg.de/index.php/ethnoscripts/issue/archive (Publisher)
Other Identification Number:eISSN 2199-7942
  • Content: Published Version
  • Language: English
  • Licence: Creative Commons: Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-SA 4.0)