Ethnography, social interaction, and conversation analysis

Thesis on ethnography, social interaction, and conversation analysis

I authored an award winning undergraduate thesis titled, "Constructing Culture Through Language and Social Interaction: An Ethnographic Study of an All-Male Drum and Bugle Corps."  The 208 page thesis was a three-year ethnographic, sociolinguistic, and conversation analytic study of an all male drum and bugle corps.  It won the Henry Rutgers Thesis Award, Rutgers University's highest thesis honors.

This paper is a detailed ethnographic and conversation analytic study of an all male
Drum and Bugle Corps in the Midwestern United States, (“the Midwestern
Scouts”). The study examines how the culture of this institution is constructed through
language and social interaction in a wide range of community activities. Data for this
study were gathered during three months of fieldwork as a participant observer and
cultural insider. The paper is divided into three sections in order to provide a detailed
analysis of the structure of this culture: (1) an ethnographic analysis, (2) a dictionary of
drum corps terms and an analysis of the words used by members of the culture, and (3) an
analysis of the Bus Rules Ceremony. My analysis uses ethnography and conversation
analysis to show how the everyday life of the drum corps is shaped through
communicative actions, and specifies the social implications of those actions. The
culture is regulated in a way that reinforces the hierarchy of the larger drum corps and
constructs and preserves a set of social norms that promote amicable, non-antagonistic
communal life.

Paper on ethnography, social interaction, and conversation analysis

I co-authored a paper with my long-term thesis advisor and mentor, Dr. Jenny Mandelbaum.  The paper was a chapter of my larger thesis and was titled, "Constructing Culture Through Communication: The Rules of Bus Life In An All-Male Drum and Bugle Corps."  It was accepted to the 2011 International Communication Association Conference, where I had the opportunity to present its findings.

This paper is part of a larger ethnographic study examining the communication
culture of an all-male summer touring Drum and Bugle corps performing ensemble. Here
we examine how the “Bus Rules” ceremony, in which the rules of the bus on which corps
members travel are announced at the beginning of the touring phase of the Corps
summer, provides for the interactional production and constitution of a variety of social
norms of the culture.