"Taking off my glasses in order to see": exploring practice on a building site using self-reflexive ethnography
Paper in proceedings, 2014
There has recently been a growing interest for ethnographic studies in construction. This interest is predicted upon the belief that ethnographic research to the construction industry can provide a powerful way of illuminating construction practices in new ways. The purpose of this paper is therefore to explicate how ethnography could be used to answer research questions in construction. Drawing on rich empirical data from a field study were the researcher went native, working as a dogsbody on a building site, this paper illustrates how the researcher first battled contrarious roles, only to realize that the transforming perspectives were the true resource. The paper presents the practices on the building site from an observer perspective and a worker perspective respectively and concludes that a self-reflexive ethnographic approach can account for the variations, contradictions, and tensions embedded in the practices of construction.