Ethnographies of Work

Ethnography is the study of customs of people and cultures. This two-course sequence will introduce different perspectives on the customs of work as you investigate a range of careers. You’ll gain a deeper understanding about the world of work and different occupations so you can make informed decisions about your major and career path.

Guided by the ethnographer’s assumption that there is always more there than meets the eye, Ethnographies of Work I will focus on:

  • posing questions about workplaces, occupations and career paths in an urban context
  • discussing myths and stereotypes about the work world
  • gaining an appreciation of why work matters to individuals in a range of occupations
  • exploring the changing nature of jobs in our fast-paced society
  • drawing connections between the self and work and creating an ethnography of your own journey as you contemplate your future

You will participate in a weekly 90‐minute advisement seminar as part of this course. Viewing the college experience itself as work, the seminar will give you knowledge, skills, habits and attitudes to help you succeed in your academic pursuits and select the best major for you.

In Ethnographies of Work II during the Spring I semester you will:

  • conduct in-depth investigations of specific occupations and careers of interest to you
  • analyze data on trends involving salaries, benefits, entry‐level requirements, hiring forecasts, geographic saturation, diversity and promotion opportunities
  • work on effective verbal and written communication, meeting the expectations of the wired office (e.g. Netiquette), and establishing professional relationships
  • add reflections to the ethnographic report you wrote in Ethnographies of Work I about your own journey of deciding on a career path

You will continue to participate in a weekly 90‐minute advisement seminar as part of this course. The seminar will give you an opportunity to practice professional habits and skills to prepare for potential internships or other work opportunities during your second year at Guttman Community College.

Read Vocation at the Center of the Curriculum, a report by Dr. Mary Gatta, associate professor of sociology at Stella and Charles Guttman Community College, and the faculty director of the Ethnographies; and Dr. Nancy Hoffman, senior advisor at JFF, a national nonprofit based in Boston.