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Critical performativity in the field: Methodological principles for activist ethnographers

Reedy, Patrick C.; King, Daniel R.


Patrick C. Reedy

Daniel R. King


It has been proposed that engagement with activism might make critical organizational scholarship
more relevant to practitioners. However, there is a lack of systematic inquiry into how such
engagement might be undertaken, which this article redresses. We propose activist ethnography as a
suitable methodological framework for critical organizational scholarship, drawing on organizational
ethnography, militant ethnography, and participatory action research, to construct a theoretical
framework which we use to analyze four ethnographic vignettes of our own experiences of research
with activists. Our contribution is to (a) assess the methodological challenges and opportunities of
engagement with activism, (b) give an account of our own experiences as activist ethnographers for
others to learn from, and (c) propose strategies whereby the challenges of academic activism might
be negotiated and the opportunities maximized.


Reedy, P. C., & King, D. R. (2019). Critical performativity in the field: Methodological principles for activist ethnographers. Organizational Research Methods, 22(2), 564-589.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Nov 3, 2017
Online Publication Date Dec 7, 2017
Publication Date Apr 1, 2019
Deposit Date Dec 11, 2017
Publicly Available Date Dec 13, 2017
Journal Organizational Research Methods
Print ISSN 1094-4281
Electronic ISSN 1552-7425
Publisher SAGE Publications
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 22
Issue 2
Pages 564-589
Keywords Ethnography; Qualitative research; Participative inquiry; Critical theory
Public URL
Publisher URL
Copyright Statement ©2017 The University of Hull


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