Ethnography has its roots in anthropology, the study of primitive societies. Early practitioners such as Bronislaw Malinowski1 studied the Trobriand Islanders, and in particular focused on the local economy (Argonauts of the Western Pacific, 1922), social order (Crime and Custom in Savage Society, 1926) and inter-personal relations (The Sexual Life of Savages, 1929). In time, sociologists such as Lacey (Hightown Grammar: The School as a Social System, 1970), Ball (Beachside Comprehensive: A Case Study of Secondary Schooling, 1981) and Burgess (Experiencing Comprehensive Education: A Study of Bishop McGregor School, 1983)2 adopted similar methods in their detailed studies of the culture of schools.