An Analytic Glossary to Social Inquiry Using Institutional and Political Activist Ethnography


  • Laura Bisaillon Biomedical Ethics Unit McGill University 3647 Peel Montreal QC H3A 1X1


This analytic glossary, composed of 52 terms, is a practical reference and working tool for persons preparing to conduct theoretically informed qualitative social science research drawing from institutional and political activist ethnography. Researchers using these approaches examine social problems and move beyond interpretation by explicating how these problems are organized and what social and ruling relations coordinate them. Political activist ethnography emerges from, and extends, institutional ethnography by producing knowledge explicitly for activism and social movement organizing ends. The assemblage of vocabulary and ideas in this word list are new, and build on existing methodological resources. This glossary offers an extensive, analytic, and challenging inventory of language that brings together terms from these ethnographic approaches with shared ancestry. This compilation is designed to serve as an accessible “one-stop-shop” resource for persons using or contemplating using institutional and political activist ethnography in their research and/or activist projects.