While the principal focus of these essays remains with anthropologists, or ethnologists as Chapter 7 would have it, they raise issues which concern academics at large, and especially academics in the social sciences whose subject is enquiry into the nature of social and cultural life. What is the social scientist's, or anthropologist's, task but to describe society, social organization, culture? For anthropologists the means to this end include the practice of writing ethnography, and its twin, the kind of (field) research which anticipates that holistic enterprise. Indeed, ethnography is at once claimed as anthropology's chief medium for conceptualizing the task of description and has wide popularity as a method of empirical enquiry which these days is pursued across a range of disciplines within-and sometimes beyond-the social sciences. Clearly, however, this has not been a book 'about' ethnography, even though ethnography is a background presence in many of these contributions; so why my addendum?
On the face of it, pursuing the kind of ethnography which relies on open-ended immersement in diverse social situations seems far removed from many of the professional concerns of academic production. In the context of higher education, the rituals of verification associated with audit might bear a resemblance to the scholarly apparatus which is the focus of its scrutiny, but their concern with quality is not carried into the content and analytical rigour of an academic product. Rather their concern is with the 'external' mechanisms by which such products are valued-the reputation of researchers through the journals in which they publish or the success of teaching as it has an impact on students. Here audit patently impinges upon conditions of work and academic career trajectories. By the same token, it is seemingly far