Durham University

Department of Anthropology: Writing Across Boundaries

The Data - Theory relationship

Willis and Trondman : Manifesto for Ethnography


In this discussion, the authors state that Ethnography and Theory should be conjoined to produce a concrete sense of the social as internally sprung and dialectically produced. Drawing from William James, they present a feeling that students writing up will recognise as all too familiar - 'Experience, as we know, has ways of boiling over, and making us correct our present formulas (1978:106) Under the acronym of TIME, standing for a 'Theoreticaly Informed Methodology for Ethnography', the authors enter in to a discussion of 'recording and presenting the nitty gritty of everyday life', of producing 'illumination' for readers and a host of other issues experienced by students grappling with qualitative data.