CASING A PROMISED LAND: The Autobiography of an Organizational Detective as Cultural Ethnographer by

CASING A PROMISED LAND: The Autobiography of an Organizational Detective as Cultural Ethnographer

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Here, Goodall (Communication Arts/Univ. of Alabama at Huntsville) throws off his academic robes and turns himself into a reporter/detective for the sake of gaining better access to his environment: the formerly rural South turned high tech. Goodall knows all there is to know about digging beneath the surface, scrounging for clues in the workplace and other seemingly innocuous locales, and creating themes from seemingly disparate pieces of evidence. Like Robert Pirsig in Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, Goodall preaches appreciation of the ordinary and of technology, an appreciation that leads to new views of worlds-within-worlds and the cultures they spawn. He understands that in the everyday--in the types of cars in a corporate parking lot or in decorations on office walls--lies a key to our existence. The result is a delightfully revealing look at the environments that shape our lives and the cultures they contain, environments that range from the everday office to the other worldly land of federal bureaucracy. ""A culture is a sensuous experience. It has a look, a feel, a smell, a characteristic way about it. To participate in a culture is to become a motif in support of its general theme, a cog in the corporate wheel, a member of a group."" Goodall also looks at how to adjust behavior to better cope with our high technology world, to accept the existence of technology so as to make the world ""less random."" Unusually palatable ethnography.

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1989
Publisher: Southern Illinois Univ. Press