Combining Ethnographic and Family Systems Perspectives in Doctor of Ministry Research—A Helpful Union

  • David Lee Jones BIOLA Univeristy


This paper argues that although the fields of ethnography and Bowen family systems theory are two distinct disciplines, there are core constructs in the field of Bowen family systems theory that resonate with and complement ethnographic “lenses” and practices. The author further argues that combining complementary family systems’ “lenses” with ethnographic research can enhance contextual assessments in Doctor of Ministry research projects. Finally, a case study is selected from Mary Clark Moschella’s book, Ethnography as a Pastoral Practice: An Introduction, with a view towards articulating how several select core family systems constructs can offer additional and/or alternative assessments and interpretations of the ethnographic data for both understanding the case more deeply and identifying possibilities for future transformation.