"Once upon a time...": a story of ethnographic exploration
Juliet Rayment (City University London)
Paper short abstract:
Weaving a traditional story with 'true life' tales from an ethnography of midwives' work, this paper will explore the potential of performance storytelling to present ethnographic findings.
Paper long abstract:
The 'strange land' is a common trope of traditional storytelling. Travellers explore somewhere new and unusual, and then return with insights into their homeland. So too does the ethnographer, even when working close to home. Similarly ethnographers, like the protagonists of many traditional stories, have to learn the social rules of new places but also not take what is familiar for granted. The themes from traditional stories continue to echo widely in our contemporary lives. As a playful intervention between traditional and ethnographic storytelling, this paper will take the form of a story that weaves together a traditional tale with 'true life' stories taken from an ethnography of midwives' work in a UK hospital. The story aims to explore the experience of 'doing' ethnography, as well as examining the potential for performance storytelling to present ethnographic findings.
Anthropology of storytelling