This introductory chapter provides a brief overview of the book as well as a summary of the emerging trends in ethnographic studies. It explains how contemporary fieldwork and ethnographic writing have evolved over time, and as this book reveals, the field now investigates subjects such as the laboratories of scientific communities and the “virtual worlds” of cyberspace that challenge previous norms of what constitutes appropriate topics of ethnographic research. Emerging trends in ethnographic writing highlight autoethnography, narrative, and politically engaged participant observation. Moreover, ethnographers today no longer always conduct remote fieldwork, writing about peoples and issues far from their home worlds and social identities; they conduct “homework.”
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