O’Byrne, P. (2012). “Population Health and Social Governance: Analyzing the Mainstream Incorporation of Ethnography”. Qualitative health research , 22 (6), pp. 859-67.
Recently, health care workers (researchers, academics, policy writers, clinicians) have begun to view ethnography as an acceptable research methodology for informing public health work. This corresponds with a change in public health practice toward population health, wherein identifiable groups are examined to identify the group-level and contextual factors that affect their health statuses. Although population health-based methodological and outcomes-focused examinations have already occurred regarding ethnography, no extant literature scrutinizes the incorporation of ethnography into mainstream public and population health work from a sociopolitical viewpoint. Consequently, such an investigation occurs here using Foucault’s concepts of discipline and Lupton’s advancement of Foucault’s ideas about the imperative of health. The outcome of this investigation is the assertion that ethnography is a strategic method for disciplining populations that do not respect the imperative of health. In other words, ethnography helps generate the data that can be used to normalize large groups of people.