In Praise of Hunches

Towards an intuitive ethnography

  • Brigitte Bönisch-Brednich


Reflecting on my experience in researching academic migrants, in this paper I explore the conflicts that arose between the themes emerging from ethnographic observation and the results of coded interviews. In response, I consider the ways in which we may further the commoning of anthropology by foregrounding the insights obtained through messy intuition and ‘hunches’ over the seeming certainties of codified recordings. Such a shift will involve narrators rather than informants, stories rather than statements, listening rather than interviewing, and hovering rather than counting. It will also involve new methods of doing ethnography and new styles of writing ethnography as well as new vehicles for the dissemination of ethnography. My plea is for a commoning of ethnography that will allow it to recover its historical role among the humanities and shed the myth of the solitary and heroic researcher.


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How to Cite
BÖNISCH-BREDNICH, Brigitte. In Praise of Hunches. Commoning Ethnography, [S.l.], v. 1, n. 1, p. 152-158, dec. 2017. ISSN 2537-9879. Available at: <>. Date accessed: 12 aug. 2020. doi:
Special Section: Debating the Commons in Aotearoa