What Are We Missing? Exploring Ethnographic Possibilities beyond MOS Conventions

Patrizia Zanoni, Tammar B Zilber

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


In this chapter, we draw on four ethnographic monographs published in other social sciences – Gelya Frank’s Venus on Wheels: Two Decades of Dialogue on Disability, Biography, and Being Female in America, Lori Kendall’s Hanging Out in the Virtual Pub: Masculinities and Relationships Online, Annemarie Mol’s The Body Multiple: Ontology in Medical Practice, and Ruben Andersson’s (2014) Illegality, Inc.: Clandestine Migration and the Business of Bordering Europe – to illustrate alternative, inspiring ways to craft ethnography today largely absent from management and organization studies (MOS). We show that these ethnographies distinctively relate their empirical studies to ‘Big Questions’ in social theory, advance novel understandings of what constitutes a research field, enact forms of reflexivity and make truth claims grounded in post-positivistic understandings of social science, foreground effective ways to engage with the body and materiality, and deal with power by creatively and skillfully reconnecting the micro- and the macro-politics. Our analysis unveils the hidden cost of the domestication ethnography has undergone in MOS. We make a plea for loosening current conventions concerning the crafting of ethnography and encourage MOS PhD students to engage with ethnography in other disciplines to move the collective debate forward within our own.
Original languageAmerican English
Title of host publicationThe Routledge companion to anthropology and business
EditorsRaza Mir, Anne-Laure Fayard
Place of PublicationNew York
Number of pages20
ISBN (Electronic)9781003052456
StatePublished - 2020


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