Invited speakers: Richard Ekins and Barry Gibson

This paper reviews the development of Ekins’ work on grounded theory historiography from its beginnings in preliminary thematic analysis within the generic social process of ‘managing authenticity’ (Ekins, 2011), to the ‘discovery’ of a basic social process (BSP) of ‘authenticating’ within the substantive area of early jazz and worldwide New Orleans jazz revivalism from its beginnings in 1890s New Orleans to the present day (Ekins, 2012). The paper demonstrates how further grounded theory work in collaboration with Robert Porter led to the refining of the authenticating BSP as a basic socio-political process (BS-SP) within the arena of New Orleans jazz. This endeavour necessitated the appropriate emphasis on competing definitions of the authenticity situation with reference to their respective origins, developments, and consequences (Ekins, 2023). In this latter work, grounded theory was combined with an autoethnography of memory that drew on Ekins’ participation in the competing sub-worlds of ‘authentic’ New Orleans revival jazz from 1961 onwards, variously as an enthusiast, record collector, musician, band leader and record producer, and later as a professional university-based sociologist and grounded theorist. 

Recently, Ekins (a retired psychoanalyst) has begun to develop a comparative substantive theory of ‘authenticating’ with reference to the authenticating trajectory in the historiography of psychoanalysis from 1890s Vienna to the present day, with particular reference to the Freud/Klein ‘authenticity wars’ (King and Steiner, 1991). And – with Barry Gibson – in the arena of grounded theory, itself, in the light of the myriad competing claims to grounded theory authenticity, particularly following Glaser’s first major ‘maintaining authenticity’ work in his Basics of Grounded Theory Analysis (1992), and as progressed (‘progressing authenticity’) to the present day in the Grounded Theory Institute that is ‘dedicated to helping people learn about authentic Grounded Theory (otherwise known as Glaserian, Classic, or Orthodox Grounded Theory).’

GT’s ‘constant comparative method’ as applied to ‘authenticating’ trajectories in the three substantive areas of New Orleans jazz, Psychoanalysis and Grounded Theory suggests three different modes of authenticating: ex post facto group (jazz), single source (psychoanalysis), and dual source (Grounded Theory). To maximise emergent fit in the new arenas, two new authenticating ‘couples’ are proposed: ‘authenticating/credentializing’ and ‘authenticating/programming’ – to identify two near-core categories in the two domains of Psychoanalysis and Grounded Theory, respectively. 


Richard Ekins, ‘Authenticity as Authenticating – The Case of New Orleans Jazz Revivalism: An Approach from Grounded Theory and Social World Analysis,” Popular Music History, 7, no. 1 (2012): 24-52.

Richard Ekins and Robert Porter, The Politics of Authenticating: Revisiting New Orleans Jazz, Lanham, Lexington, 2023.

Richard Ekins, ‘The Rediscovery and Resurrection of Bunk Johnson – A Grounded Theory Approach: A Case Study in Jazz Historiography,’ Grounded Theory Review: An International Journal 10, no. 3 (2011): 27-54.

Barney Glaser, Basics of Grounded Theory Analysis, Mill Valley: Sociology Press, 1992.

Pearl King and Riccardo Steiner, eds., The Freud-Klein Controversies, 1941-45, London, Tavistock/Routledge, 1991.

‘Grounded Theory Institute’,, 2024.