Title page for ETD etd-04092007-163417

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Speed, Jesica Eileen
URN etd-04092007-163417
Title Methodological Lagniappe: A Walk in Representations of the Red Stick Farmers Market
Degree Master of Arts (M.A.)
Department Communication Studies
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Tracy Stephenson Shaffer Committee Chair
Andrew King Committee Member
Loretta Pecchioni Committee Member
  • Red Stick Farmers Market
  • space
  • historicity
  • performative writing
  • agency
  • place
  • new ethnography
  • storytelling
  • Baton Rouge
Date of Defense 2007-03-21
Availability unrestricted
In this thesis, I take you on a walk – a walk in the making of representations – around the Red Stick Farmers Market in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. This thesis is written at a moment of instability, or crisis, in this discipline. In a “crisis of representation,” how do we represent anything? Experimenting with various methodologies of writing, representation, dialogic performance, history, and ethnographic inquiry, this thesis provides a walk over various terrains. We begin by building the framework for the walk, then tour three areas of ethnographic expansions and alternatives: new ethnography, performative writing, and historicity.

John VanMaanen calls for an “impressionistic ethnography,” which is the telling and re-telling of the “backstage” stories of ethnography. Ask a dancer, and she might tell you that the “backstage” stories are not only about the costumes and the scenery of the ballet; the “backstage” stories are also about the blisters, the politics of who “gets” which role, the lives that dancers, choreographers, and set-designers live outside of the studios and stages, the people who sit in the audience, and many other things. The “backstage” stories of ethnography are also vast.

For these purposes, the chapters of this thesis focus on three of the more “banal” elements of doing ethnography at the Red Stick Farmers Market: mushroom soup, cookies, and dirt. These three elements provide an exploration of writing, making, and “doing” ethnography at this point in time.

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