Ethnographers are constantly writing what they call vignettes. What they mean by this word is short stories. The core claim of this post is that short stories are great, and we should keep writing them, but that we should stop trivializing them by using this problematic, denigrating term.
What is a vignette? Vigne is vine (in French) and vignette is thus “little vine,” which is certainly an evocative image. But what does a little vine do for ethnographers?