Andrea Bottalico Valeria Piro

Ethnographies of work and the work of ethnography

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As an introduction to this special issue, Ethnographies of work and the work of ethnography, which collects articles based on the authors’ participant observations in workplaces, this essay aims to provide a general picture of the current transformations of global value chains and labour processes, in turn affecting labour conditions and worker organizations. The article reflects on the specific contribution of ethnography and its coterminous forms of inquiry, such as Workers’ Inquiry, engaged journalism and literature, to our understanding of changing labour processes. By focussing on the advantages and disadvantages of ethnographic research in workplaces, this introduction summarizes the different contributions, highlighting the continuities and innovations in the debate across sociology of work and labour studies today.


  • labour processes
  • global value chains
  • worker organizations
  • participant observation
  • workers’
  • inquiry


Article first page

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