Social and cultural research has changed dramatically in the last few years in response to changing conceptions of the empirical, an intensification of interest in interdisciplinary work, and the growing need to communicate with diverse users and audiences. Methods texts, however, have not kept pace with these changes. This volume provides a set of new approaches for the investigation of the contemporary world. Building on the increasing importance of methodologies that cut across disciplines, more than twenty expert authors explain the utility of 'devices' for social and cultural research - their essays cover such diverse devices as the list, the pattern, the event, the photograph, the tape recorder and the anecdote. This fascinating collection stresses the open-endedness of the social world, and explores the ways in which each device requires the user to reflect critically on the value and status of contemporary ways of making knowledge. With a range of genres and styles of writing, each chapter presents the device as a hinge between theory and practice, ontology and epistemology, and explores whether and how methods can be inventive. The book will be a valuable resource for students and scholars of sociology and cultural studies.