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An evaluation of demographers' use of ethnographies

Coast, Ernestina ORCID: 0000-0002-8703-307X (2003) An evaluation of demographers' use of ethnographies. Population Studies, 57 (3). pp. 337-347. ISSN 1477-4747

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Identification Number: 10.1080/0032472032000137844


A survey of papers reporting the use of ethnographies in three population journals and an examination of two case studies show that the criticisms made by anthropologists and others of demographers’ use of ethnographies are well founded. In their use of these accounts, demographers tend to present an excessively static view of social organization, to use ethnographic evidence selectively to support other findings, to be indifferent to how long ago an ethnography was produced, to take for granted the validity of the ethnographic evidence, to ignore the broader historical context in which the ethnography was produced, and to be unaware of the ways in which demographic evidence can be used at all stages of the research process The adoption of anthropologists’ suggestions for establishing the plausibility and credibility of ethnographic evidence could improve the value of the contribution made by these studies to demographic research and theory.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Published 2003 © Routledge, part of the Taylor & Francis Group. LSE has developed LSE Research Online so that users may access research output of the School. Copyright and Moral Rights for the papers on this site are retained by the individual authors and/or other copyright owners. Users may download and/or print one copy of any article(s) in LSE Research Online to facilitate their private study or for non-commercial research. You may not engage in further distribution of the material or use it for any profit-making activities or any commercial gain. You may freely distribute the URL (<>) of the LSE Research Online website.
Divisions: Social Policy
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GN Anthropology
Date Deposited: 20 Apr 2006
Last Modified: 20 Feb 2021 01:16

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