Excellent, Approachable, Local: Using an experience-driven, embodied methodology to explore communities of practice within a third place
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Communities of practice can only be changed from the inside out, by participants who believe they are governed by assumptions worth challenging. Challenging those assumptions can be difficult and stressful, but unless we are willing to do so, nothing will ever change. Using a year-long ethnographic case study of Aromas Coffeehouse as the guiding project, in this thesis I question two assumptions of modern ethnographic research. First, I question why researchers are so much more interested in talking about other communities than the communities to which they already belong. Second, I question whether our highly textualized treatment of human interviewees is appropriate or safe. By approaching Aromas Coffeehouse as a community of practice within a third place, this thesis is an attempt to highlight the complex humanity at play in every interpersonal experience, and an argument that this humanity is best approached by researchers who are interested in seeing and relating to their humanity, not reading and writing it.
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