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What is institutional ethnography?

Institutional ethnography (IE) is a method of inquiry that allows people to explore the social relations that structure their everyday lives.  It was first developed as a "sociology for women," by Dorothy E. Smith, and is now being used by researchers in the social sciences, education, human services, and policy research.  Smith uses the metaphor of the cube, emerging in perspective when points are connected, to illustrate how IE analyses map the translocal relations that coordinate people's activities in particular local sites.

What is the purpose of this site?

This website is hosted by Marjorie DeVault, a faculty member in the Department of Sociology at Syracuse University, with assistance from Jeremy Brunson, web-designer for 2004-05, and Jennifer Flad, web-designer for 2005-2006 and Li Fang Liang, webdesigner for 2006-2007.

Marj explains:  I hope the website will serve as a resource center and virtual meeting place for IE researchers and others interested in the approach.  Some parts of the site refer to local Syracuse University activities (but most of these are open to friendly eavesdropping); some are intended for the use of IE colleagues around the world.  We hope you will use the site to explore, learn, and perhaps contribute to the development of the IE approach.

How may I use information from this site?

Information on the webpage is placed there for scholarly and educational use.  Please do not quote material from the discussion board without permission from the poster.  If you use other information from the webpage, please cite it properly, as follows:

Author, Date (if available), Title.  From Institutional Ethnography: Online Resources and Discussion. URL:, accessed mm/dd/yy.


Website design by Jeremy L. Brunson

Information about IE

Who is Using Institutional Ethnography

Teaching Resources

Partial Bibliography

IE Network Activities

SU IE Working Group

Other IE Sites

Embodied Workers Project - M. DeVault

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