UCLA Sloan Center on Everyday Lives of Families Working Paper No. 31 2004
This chapter delineates how video ethnography and ethnoarchaeological tracking can illuminate working family life. These methodologies were integrated into the UCLA Sloan Center on Everyday Lives of Families (CELF) project to document how working parents manage to raise a family and maintain a home. Our discussion begins with a general introduction to the use of video ethnography and ethnoarchaeological tracking methods in anthropology and other disciplines. The chapter next considers how these methodologies have been incorporated, elaborated, and integrated in the CELF project. To demonstrate the analytic potential of video ethnography and tracking, the authors turn to a specific study that relies upon these methodologies. The study examines the social cohesiveness of working families by documenting how and how much family members come together when parents and children return home after work and school. The video ethnography provides documentation on how working parents are welcomed home by their spouse and children (interactional cohesion). The ethnoarchaeological tracking provides timed observations of the proximity of family members (spatial cohesion) from the time parents return home until the time the children go to bed at the end of the evening.