Ethnographic strategies for making the familiar strange: Struggling with ‘distance’ and ‘immersion’ among Moroccan-Dutch students
AbstractEthnographic fieldwork is a balancing act between distancing and immersing. Fieldworkers need to come close to meaningfully grasp the sense-making efforts of the researched. In methodological textbooks on ethnography, immersion tends to be emphasized at the expense of its counterpart. In fact, ‘distancing’ is often ignored as a central tenet of good ethnographic conduct. In this article we redirect attention away from familiarization and towards ‘defamiliarization’ by suggesting six estrangement strategies (three theoretical and three methodological) that allow the researcher to develop a more detached viewpoint from which to interpret data. We demonstrate the workings of these strategies by giving illustrations from Machteld de Jong’s field- and text-work, conducted among Moroccan-Dutch students in an institution of higher vocational education.
Authors who publish with this journal agree to the following terms:
- Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g., in institutional repositories or on their website) prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work (See The Effect of Open Access).