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More specific rhetorical devices depict scenes in

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More specific rhetorical devices depict scenes in ethnography (Emerson et al., 1995). Writers canincorporate details or “write lushly” (Goffman, 1989, p. 131) or “thickly,” description that createsverisimilitude and produces for readers the feeling that they experience, or perhaps could experience,the events described (Denzin, 1989b; Fetterman, 2010). Denzin (1989b) talks about the importance ofusing “thick description” in writing qualitative research. By this, he means that the narrative “presentsdetail, context, emotion, and the webs of social relationships … [and] evokes emotionality and self-feelings…. The voices, feelings, actions, and meanings of interacting individuals are heard” (Denzin,1989b, p. 83). As an example, Denzin (1989b) first refers to an illustration of “thick” descriptionfrom Sudnow (1978), and then provides his own version as if it were “thin” description.Thick description: “Sitting at the piano and moving into the production of a chord, the chord as awhole was prepared for as the hand moved toward the keyboard, and the terrain was seen as afield relative to the task…. There was chord A and chord B, separated from one another…. A’sproduction entailed a tightly compressed hand, and B’s … an open and extended spread…. Thebeginner gets from A to B disjointly.” (Sudnow, 1978, pp. 9–10)Thin description: “I had trouble learning the piano keyboard.” (Denzin, 1989b, p. 85)Also, ethnographers present dialogue, and the dialogue becomes especially vivid when written inthe dialect and natural language of the culture (see, e.g., the articles on Black English vernacular or“code switching” in Nelson, 1990). Writers also rely on characterization in which human beings areshown talking, acting, and relating to others. Longer scenes take the form of sketches, a “slice of life”(Emerson et al., 1995, p. 85), or larger episodes and tales.Ethnographic writers tell “a good story” (Richardson, 1990). Thus, one of the forms of “evocative”experimental qualitative writing for Richardson (1990) is the fictional representation form in whichwriters draw on the literary devices such as flashback, flash-forward, alternative points of view,deep characterization, tone shifts, synecdoche, dialogue, interior monologue, and sometimes theomniscient narrator.Haenfler’s (2004) ethnographic study of the core values of the straight edge movement illustratedmany of these writing conventions (seeAppendix E). It fell somewhere between a realist tale, with itsreview of the literature and extensive method discussion, and a critical tale, with its orientationtoward examining closely subculture resistance and the reflexivity of the author as he discussed hisinvolvement as a participant observer. It followed Wolcott’s (1994b) orientation of description with adetailed discussion about the core values of the sXe group, then analyzed through themes, and endedwith a conclusion that discussed an analytic framework for understanding the group. It told a good,persuasive story, with colorful elements (e.g., T-shirt slogans), “thick” description, and extensive

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Term
Fall
Professor
NoProfessor
Tags
Sociology, Qualitative Research

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