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Casing a Promised Land the Autobiography of an Organizational Detective as Cultural Ethnographer

by H. Lloyd Goodall

  • ISBN: 9780809319428
  • ISBN10: 080931942X

Casing a Promised Land the Autobiography of an Organizational Detective as Cultural Ethnographer

by H. Lloyd Goodall

  • List Price: $35.00
  • Binding: Paperback
  • Publisher: Southern Illinois Univ Pr
  • Publish date: 07/01/1994
  • ISBN: 9780809319428
  • ISBN10: 080931942X
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Description: Now available for the first time in paperback and expanded by a new chapter and an afterword entitled "'Surrendering to the Mystery, ' or The Sooner You Arrive, the Further You Have to Go", this ground-breaking study by H. L. Goodall, Jr., examines what happens when a communication scholar ventures out of academia into the community workplace. Using the techniques of social science and literary journalism, Goodall reveals the tensions between order and creativity in the real world and how these tensions place him into a crisis of interpretation. "Becoming an Organizational Detective", the first chapter is a brief autobiographical sketch of how Goodall moved from the role of cultural outsider to that of cultural insider within the high-technology texts and contexts of Huntsville, Alabama. Against this backdrop, he explores the lives led by people within organizations against the backdrop of his own "many-storied story". Through the use of an interpretive field method, cultural ethnography, Goodall utilizes these "many-storied stories" to provide a richer, deeper sense of the experience of a researcher observing and interpreting organizational lives. His stories take on the form of six detective mysteries in which the narrator figures into the plot of the intrigue and then works out its essential patterns. In the first mystery, "Notes on a Cultural Evolution: The Remaking of a Software Company", Goodall looks at the transition of the Huntsville regional office of a Boston-based computer software company where the lives and social dramas of the participants reflect the current state of high technology, a blend of fantasy and stress stemming from that fantasy, that mingle with his own. In"The Way the World Ends: Inside Star Wars", Goodall penetrates the various defenses of the Star Wars command office in Huntsville to discover its secrets and surprises. "Lost in Space: The Layers of Illusion Called Adult Space Camp" illustrates how a supposedly "innocent" theme park invites participation in rituals and ceremonies designed to influence a future generation of taxpayers. In "Articles of Faith", Goodall enters a super mall in Huntsville, noting how shopping centers provide consumers and narrators with far more than places to purchase goods and services. "How I Spent My Summer Vacation" finds Goodall back in a conference of communication scholars where he demonstrates the difficult task of translating cultural understandings from one context to another through the telling of his own tale. In "The Consultant as Organizational Detective", Goodall works within a context of intrigue and deceit worthy of Raymond Chandler as he evaluates relationships of power and authority within a privately held company whose owner has targeted a contentious manager for removal, preferably through voluntary resignation, and dupes Goodall into the general deception. In the final chapter, Goodall shares how his study fits into, or rubs against, the grain of contemporary communication scholarship and offers unusual advice for others who may be considering making "the interpretive turn".
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