urban ethnography

wrigley field II.jpg

I am still in Chicago, doing ethnography in bars for a client.

It is interesting. Last night the Cubs were playing in Houston and Cub fans had come to bars in the shadow of Wrigley field to shout them on. (How sweet is that.)

The Cubs won in the 9th. The bar went wild.

Doing ethnography in these conditions is a challenge. The sound system is almost always so loud you have to shout…and strain to hear. There is a game on so people are distracted. People are usually intoxicated so often you have proceed with care or caution, depending. Some are looking for a fight. Others are trying to pick you up. Fortunately, as a highly trained anthropologist, I have no difficulty telling the difference.

But this is Chicago. People are forthcoming and talkative. So the interviews are rich. I have done this kind of research in New York City and sometimes this is like wearing your “kick me” sign on the front of your jacket. Chicago has unofficial transparency rules. Locals are expected to know what they think, and say what they think. Even to strangers.

I did some work at Bar Louis and I left with a t-shirt that reads “Your team sucks, whoever they are.” I am taking back to the lab. See if the boys can figure it out.

5 thoughts on “urban ethnography

  1. Independent George

    I see… Doing ‘research’ at a Wrigleyville bar on a game night. I suppose you get to expense out your bar tab, as well.

    Why is it that your methodology begins to remind me of Drezner’s research on NAFTA via Salma Hayek movies?

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