Ethnography in the Marketplace


  • Billy Ehn European Ethnology, Umeå University, Sweden
  • Orvar Löfgren European Ethnology, the University of Lund, Sweden



cultural analysis, applied research, commercial ethnography, consultants


What happens when cultural analysis enters the world of applied research and academics become consultants working with corporations and public institutions? The divide between academic research and commercial ethnography has often hampered communication and critical exchanges between these two worlds.

In this paper we look at the experiences of consultants, drawing on Danish and Swedish examples. What can we learn from them when it comes to organizing research under time pressure, communicating results and making people understand the potentials of cultural analysis? And how could consultants “out there” benefit from a continuing dialogue with their colleagues in Academia?


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Theme: What’s the Use of Cultural Research?