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date: 23 May 2019

Abstract and Keywords

The ethnographic approach has particular potential for studying political communication through enlarging understandings of political institutions and expanding definitions of “politics.” First, widening institutional understanding takes advantage of ethnography’s capacity to open windows that traditional analysis of political institutions leaves shut. Second, ethnography is uniquely able to examine new forms of engagement that people have not yet defined as “politics.” Third, studying political communication ethnographically means expanding the modes of communication and activity examined to include nonverbal and virtual communication. Politics is one of the principal arenas in which “culture” unfolds and becomes observable, yet in ways that are not limited to political institutions or decision-making practices. Common to political ethnographies is the capability to show how “how” and “why” are linked: how a political process or practice takes place enables finding out why it does.

Keywords: politicization, depoliticization, participation, ethnography, everyday practices, organizational style, empowerment project, conflict, sedimentation, level of generality

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