Samer Shehata was denied tenure by Georgetown this year. There are various explanations for this reproach, but one that is receiving a lot of attention is whether or not his ethnographic approach influenced his chances. I am politely ignoring the possibility that his political views may be to blame, a horrifying prospect for any academic. May heaven's own fury punish me if I ever judge a colleague by their political views rather than the quality of their work.
I believe strongly in ethnography as a method, particularly for scholars working in contexts where they were not raised, and particularly for a first project. Although it brings a level of complexity that is not appropriate for all scholars, it protects them from making assertions that are too grand for their britches. Anyone who uses ethnography is humbled by the complexity of their subject matter and aware of their inability to truly capture every aspect of any question or research topic. It also creates skepticism for many about other scholars parsimonious theories, which contributes to contention between those who do ethnography and those who prefer rational choice methods.
One criticism of his work is valid though: his decision not to integrate his ethnography of Egyptian factory workers into the larger study of labor politics. All political scientists owe it to their colleagues to do the work of explaining why their work is relevant to non-area specialists. There is just simply to much work to do to not offer your colleagues that kindness. As I have not read his book though, I won't make further remarks.