Ethnographic fieldwork and formal linguistic analysis have traditionally been thought to be diametric opposites. But in this provocative analysis, these diverse methods of qualitative research are demonstrated to be complementary. The author reveals that the formalism of semiotics adds breadth and depth to the particularism of traditional fieldwork; similarly, the many details of ethnographic description give semiotic analysis a more realistic perspective. After examining the potential benefits and limitations of each method of analysis, the author shows how the synthesis of the two is potentially more powerful that either alone.
"This book succeeds in bringing together two branches of science that are rather different with respect to traditions and levels of abstraction."
"Provides a brief and useful statement of the method....It is both a summary of what has been said and a commentary on the simultaneous deformalization and formalization of American life."