The Power of Ethnography: A Useful Approach to Researching Politics
This article explores and argues the suitability of ethnographic methods, primarily participant observation, in the research of politics, and in the construction of concepts for theory building. The argument is sustained by using a case study of a network of political clientelism and some instances of vote-buying in a native village in Mexico City. The author maintains that long-term participant observation is particularly well suited to discover puzzles and incongruities, which invite abductive reasoning, and allow for unplanned findings and new insights. Issues of legitimacy, moral universes and life-worlds, as well as tacit knowledge, local discourses and silences, are researchable with this methodological approach. The author suggests the study of politics would benefit from more scholars employing these methods.