`This clearly written, well-illustrated text satisfies a long-standing need for an authoritative account of the methodology of cultural studies. It will become required reading on many courses' - David Silverman, Goldsmiths College, University of London
The growth of interdisciplinary cultural studies poses new challenges for the process of doing research. In this textbook, Pertti Alasuutari introduces the range of approaches and methodological tools available for undertaking critical research, and shows how cultural studies transcend traditional divisions between qualitative and quantitative methods and between social sciences and humanities.
He draws upon three main sources: the qualitative traditions of sociological and anthropological research, including ethnography and symbolic interactionism; methods for the study of language and interaction - semiotics, narrative analysis, conversation analysis and discourse analysis; and quantitative analysis in terms of its relevance to data produced by research on culture.
Pertti Alasuutari is a sociologist, cultural studies scholar, paterfamilias and a highly significant figure in the development of both Finnish and international qualitative research. His career has gone from strength to strength as regards advancement in Finnish academia, as witnessed by some twenty books, and numerous articles in both Finnish and foreign journals. Yet Professor Alasuutari insists that he did not consciously choose the career of a sociologist. Professor Alasuutari completed his school education in Rovaniemi, Lapland in 1975 and went to study technology at the University of Oulu. But not for long. In 1977 he dropped out and began to dream of becoming a journalist, in the meantime doing supply teaching. "In summer I studied journalism at summer university in Lapland and began my military service" His days in the army driving a desk led him to another state agency. In autumn 1978 the train from the north arrived in Tampere with the 22-year-old on board. He had gained admission to study sociology. "For the first year I only studied journalism, and didn't even set foot in the Department of Sociology," grins Professor Alasuutari. Career development In 1983 the Westermarck Society awarded a prize for a master's thesis to the youthful Alasuutari. The thesis was entitled "The Realm of Male Freedom". The ethnographic approach was to describe the alcohol culture of a group of men patronizing a suburban pub.