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How Visual Methods along with Traditional Ethnography can Thicken Research on Race, Ethnicity, and Religion.

Mon, August 22, 10:30am to 12:10pm, TBA


This paper discusses my multi-methodological comparative study of the intersection of social location and religion in people’s daily lives. Specifically, I designed my methods to help me study how race, ethnicity, class and religion intersect and shape the daily lives and identities of 2nd- and 3rd-generation Mexican Americans and Irish Americans on the south side of Chicago. My project is built around evidence obtained from several years of ethnography, eighty-two life narrative interviews, twenty-five interviews with workers and leaders in various community institutions, and visual & digital sociology. My methods were designed to help me understand the beliefs, practices, and identities of my participants, along with how they are shaped by their particular neighborhood context, sociocultural structure, and familial upbringing. The aim of this methods paper is to give the reader a background of my research design and to offer a glimpse of how it helped me get at topics and people that are difficult to access by conventional methods. I argue that through a mix of new and conventional research methods, along with unorthodox participant recruitment techniques, scholars of areas from race and ethnicity to religion can diversify our participants and findings, and thus thicken the claims we can make about what role these social phenomena play in people's everyday lives and identities.


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