Information and Culture:

An Ethnographic Perspective

© 1993 Chris Hutchison
Faculty of Computing, Information Systems, & Mathematics
Kingston University

"[Ethnography] shifts the focus of research from the perspective of the ethnographer as an outsider to a discovery of the insider's point of view. ... It is a systematic attempt to discover the knowledge a group of people have learned and are using to organize their behavior"
(Spradley & McCurdy, 1972, p.9)

"Whether the task is performing a wedding, driving a car, weaning a child, sentencing a drunk, smoking a joint, or processing eggs, the respective behaviors are constructed, coordinated, and interpreted by the use of cultural information systems"
(Spradley, 1972, p.4)

Table of Contents

  1. Preamble
  2. What is a 'culture'? 1: 'Corporate Culture'
  3. Culture and Communication: The social transmission of culture
  4. What is a 'culture'? 2: Culture as internalised knowledge
  5. From sense data to information
  6. Culture and Socialisation
  7. Rule-based Cultural Knowledge
  8. Cultural Scenes
  9. Information, Technology, and the 'Cultural Stance'
  10. An Ethnography of the Workplace
  11. Selective bibliography