Elinor Ochs


Current Research Projects

Center on the Everyday Lives of Families: A Sloan Center on Working Families
Housed in the UCLA Department of Anthropology, the Center on Everyday Lives of Families integrates scholars across the four sub-fields of anthropology – cultural anthropology, linguistic anthropology, archaeology, and biological anthropology – along with scholars from the fields of applied linguistics, education, and psychology in pursuit of four goals: 1) detailed, ethnographic research on how members of middle class working families create a home life through culturally and situationally organized social interactions; 2) creation of a digital video archive of family and household activities of working families; 3) apprenticeship of postgraduate, graduate, and undergraduate scholars in fine-grained documentation and analysis of social interactions that impact the well-being of working families; 4) public dialogue on how working families accomplish routine family and household activities and the centrality of these activities for building family and community relationships and world views.

The Ethnography of Autism
The project provides an ethnographic account of the everyday lives of high-functioning children with autistic spectrum disorders (Autistic Disorder and Asperger Syndrome). Analytic foci include autistic children’s narrative interactions with family members and peers, inclusion in public school classrooms as a social practice, autistic children in multi-lingual families, and autism and the social world. Our current project examines socialization of children with autism spectrum disorders into the social rules of school and family, focusing on social rule violations. The study documents autistic children’s sense of rule awareness, which is foundational to belonging to a social group. UCLA's Ethnography of Autism Project is supported by the Spencer Foundation for Educational and Related Research. The Principal Investigator is Professor Elinor Ochs.