The�Ethnography of communication�(EOC) is a method of�discourse analysis�in�linguistics, which draws on the�anthropological�field ofethnography. Unlike ethnography proper, though, it takes both language and culture to be constitutive as well as constructive. In their bookQualitative Communication Research Methods, communications scholars�Thomas R. Lindlof�and�Bryan C. Taylor�(2002) explain "Ethnography of communication conceptualizes communication as a continuous flow of information, rather than as a segmented exchange of messages" (p. 44). According to�Deborah Cameron�(2001), EOC can be thought of as the application of ethnographic methods to the communication patterns of a group. Littlejohn & Foss (2005) recall that�Dell Hymes�suggests that "cultures communicate in different ways, but all forms of communication require a shared code, communicators who know and use the code, a channel, a setting, a message form, a topic, and an event created by transmission of the message" (p. 312).
EOC can be used as a means by which to study the interactions among members of a specific culture or, what�Gerry Philipsen�(1975) calls a "speech community." Speech communities create and establish their own speaking codes/norms. Philipsen (1975) explains that "Each community has its own cultural values about speaking and these are linked to judgments of situational appropriateness" (p. 13). The meaning and understanding of the presence or absence of speech within different communities will vary. Local cultural patterns and norms must be understood for analysis and interpretation of the appropriateness of speech acts situated within specific communities. Thus, "the statement that talk is not anywhere valued equally in all social contexts suggests a research strategy for discovering and describing cultural or subcultural differences in the value of speaking. Speaking is one among other symbolic resources which are allocated and distributed in social situations according to distinctive culture patterns" (Philipsen, 1975, p. 21).
General aims of this qualitative research method include: being able to discern which�communication�acts and/or codes are important to different groups, what...