Unveiling the Invisible: Ethnographic Insights into Hidden Power Structures

Authors

  • Dr. Huma Baqai Department of Social Sciences, Institute of Business Administration (IBA), Karachi Author

Keywords:

Ethnography, power structures, hidden dynamics, social inequalities, lived experiences, agency, social justice

Abstract

Power structures, often intricate and opaque, lie at the heart of every society, shaping individual experiences and collective outcomes. While readily acknowledged, these structures frequently remain shrouded in a veil of implicit norms, unspoken assumptions, and everyday micro-practices. This article argues that ethnographic research, with its immersive and nuanced approach, offers a unique lens through which to unveil these hidden dynamics. By delving into the lived experiences of individuals embedded within specific social contexts, ethnographers can illuminate the subtle workings of power, expose its often invisible manifestations, and reveal the lived consequences for those navigating its terrain. Drawing on specific ethnographic studies, this article demonstrates how ethnographic insights can contribute to a deeper understanding of power structures, offering critical perspectives on issues ranging from gender and class inequalities to the workings of bureaucratic systems and corporate hierarchies. In doing so, the article underscores the potential of ethnographic research to inform social justice initiatives, policy interventions, and individual agency in resisting and negotiating power dynamics.

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Published

2024-03-31

Issue

Section

Articles