You can’t report what you don’t know: Methodological considerations of an ethnographer navigating organizational secrecy
Lobbedez, Elise (2023), You can’t report what you don’t know: Methodological considerations of an ethnographer navigating organizational secrecy, Ephemera: Critical Dialogues on Organization, 23, 1, p. 189-200
TypeArticle accepté pour publication ou publié
External document linkhttps://ephemerajournal.org/contribution/you-cant-report-what-you-dont-know-methodological-considerations-ethnographer
Journal nameEphemera: Critical Dialogues on Organization
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Dauphine Recherches en Management [DRM]
Abstract (EN)This note reflects on the methodological challenges I faced as an ethnographer navigating organizational secrecy, the conscious suppression of knowledge through practices related to keeping oneself or keeping others ignorant, during my dissertation fieldwork on the French yellow vest movement. In the course of this ethnographic study, I got involved with highly committed people willing to engage in radical actions and high risk activism (McAdam, 1986), ranging from civil disobedience and illicit occupations to collective action based on black bloc tactics (Dupuis-Déri, 2003; Juris, 2005). These activities usually required some degree of clandestinity and organizing practices kept under the radar; groups within the movement often worked hard at keeping certain things invisible and untraceable. As a consequence, the yellow vest organizational attempts frequently supposed concealment of knowledge from external actors and between activists’ groups themselves, hence creating pockets of ignorance within the movement.
Subjects / Keywordsorganizational secrecy; organized ignorance; ethnography; risks; methodological challenges; Yellow vest movement
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