Published in 1996, this book comprises a number of essays by Paul Atkinson in which he reflects on processes of reading and writing in the social sciences. Topics covered include: ethnographers’ ‘confessions’, an analysis of the style of Erving Goffman, a reflection of his own experiences of re-reading work, and a discussion of the challenges of reading an alien discipline.

This book was originally published as part of the Cardiff Papers in Qualitative Research series edited by Paul Atkinson, Sara Delamont and Amanda Coffey. The series publishes original sociological research that reflects the tradition of qualitative and ethnographic inquiry developed at Cardiff. The series includes monographs reporting on empirical research, edited collections focussing on particular themes, and texts discussing methodological developments and issues.

chapter 1|6 pages


chapter 2|19 pages

Ethnography in perspective

chapter 3|12 pages

Ethnography: parody and pastiche

chapter 4|16 pages

Supervising the text

chapter 5|22 pages

Urban confessions

chapter 7|15 pages

Goffman’s poetics

chapter 9|17 pages

Reading health economics

chapter 10|4 pages