Annika Lindberg
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Series editors’ preface

Series editors’ preface

Ethnography reaches the parts of politics that other methods cannot reach. It captures the lived experience of politics; the everyday life of political elites and street-level bureaucrats. It identifies what we fail to learn, and what we fail to understand, from other approaches. Specifically:

  1. It is a source of data not available elsewhere.
  2. It is often the only way to identify key individuals and core processes.
  3. It identifies ‘voices’ all too often ignored.
  4. By disaggregating organisations, it leads to an understanding of ‘the black box’, or the internal processes of groups and organisations.
  5. It recovers the beliefs and practices of actors.
  6. It gets below and behind the surface of official accounts by providing texture, depth and nuance, so our stories have richness as well as context.
  7. It lets interviewees explain the meaning of their actions, providing an authenticity that can only come from the main characters involved in the story.
  8. It allows us to frame (and reframe, and reframe) research questions in a way that recognises our understandings about how things work around here evolve during the fieldwork.
  9. It admits of surprises – of moments of epiphany, serendipity and happenstance – that can open new research agendas.
  10. It helps us to see and analyse the symbolic, performative aspects of political action.

Despite this distinct and distinctive contribution, ethnography’s potential is rarely realised in political science and related disciplines. It is considered an endangered species or at best a minority sport. This series seeks to promote the use of ethnography in political science, public administration and public policy.

The series has two key aims:

  1. To establish an outlet for ethnographic research into politics, public administration and public policy.
  2. To build an interdisciplinary platform for a readership interested in qualitative research into politics and administration. We expect such work to cut across the traditional scholarly boundaries of political science, public administration, anthropology, organisation studies, social policy, and development studies.

R. A. W. Rhodes, Professor, University of Southampton Nina Holm Vohnsen, Associate Professor, Aarhus University

Series editors

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Deportation limbo

State violence and contestations in the Nordics

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