Ethnography and Policy

Policy-themed ethnography relies on cooperation.  Without cooperation, implementation of policy is not successful.  This includes the private sector, governments and their officials, the frontline implementors as well as those whom the policy is acted upon (this could include community leaders).  Mosse argues in “Is Good Policy Unimplementable? Reflections on the Ethnography of Aid Policy and Practice” that for the sustainability of the policy, social support must be strong and continuous.  But then there is the instability of numbers.  As more and more people become involved in a project, the less stable it becomes.  What is that number or where is the line? 

My visualizing ethnography project will involve myself and two nurses.  Since it is not a large long-term ethnographic study but a relatively short introduction into ethnography, I do not foresee any large degree of political discourse.  I do not have an investor to answer to (only fictitious) nor am I implementing policy change.  I am however, looking at the politics of gender in nursing.  This project could open the Pandora’s Box of unspoken norms that take place between male and female coworkers, their patients, and perhaps even management.  There may be issues as to whom I interview.  Why did I choose one person over another?  What if I was looking to change policy?  Let’s say that every female patient who had a male nurse required a female “chaperone” when any procedures were physically revealing or intimately personal.  Who would be involved in the discussion of this policy change?  Perhaps the nursing officer, male and female staff nurses, middle management, and prospective patients.  Do we need to include the physicians?  I see what Mosse was discussing.  The implementation of policy requires diverse input but how much input is too much?  I personally have a male physician, but I know some women prefer female doctors.  Whose opinion is the majority opinion and how do we make that distinction?

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