Towards an ethnography of new media practices: reflections through field experience


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  • Towards an ethnography of new media practices: reflections through field experience

    1. 1. Media practices and the Internet: some reflections through ethnography Elisenda Ardèvol Adolfo Estalella Edgar Gómez-Cruz Begoña Enguix ECREA, Barcelona, November, 2008 Universitat Oberta de Catalunya
    2. 2. From Internet studies to ethnography of media practices <ul><li>Internet as an object of study </li></ul><ul><li>A praxeological approach </li></ul><ul><li>Ethnography of mediation </li></ul><ul><li>Notes from somewhere: </li></ul><ul><li>4 examples of ethnographic research </li></ul>
    3. 3. 1. Internet as an object of study <ul><li>Internet as Culture [world apart] </li></ul><ul><li>Internet as Cultural Artifact [embedded </li></ul><ul><li> in every day life] </li></ul><ul><li>Internet as Mediation [media technology] </li></ul>
    4. 4. Theoretical approach Internet as Culture Internet as Cultural Artifact Internet as Media Concepts Cyberspace, virtual life, cyberculture, desembodiment, desterritorialization Online/Offline, embedded in everyday life, locality Convergence of media, everyday life, new media, digital culture Object/Field Text based: Chats, BBS, IRC, Usenet, Newsgroups, MUDs Web based : Personal pages, Websites, Virtual Worlds Social networks, multimedia objects: Users Generated Content, Web 2.0 Methodology Qualitative Ethnography Virtual Communities, Computer Mediated Communication, Online Identity, (only) Screen Studies Social ties, identity representation, ‘beyond the screen’ studies, appropriation of technology, virtual ethnography Multimedia ethnography, connective ethnography, network ethnography…
    5. 5. 2. A “praxeological” approach <ul><li>There is not an unified “theory of practice” but a praxeological approach: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Interwoven between: Representation (narratives), actual practices (agency) and materiality (infrastructure) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Beyond dichotomies (articulation, “fields”, ethno methodologies, translations) </li></ul></ul>
    6. 6. A practice is understood as…. <ul><li>‘ A routinized way in which bodies are moved, objects are handled, subjects are treated, things are described and the world is understood. </li></ul><ul><li>To say that practices are ‘social practices’ then is indeed a tautology: A practice is social, as it is a ‘type’ of behaving and understanding that appears at different locales and at different points of time and is carried out by different body/minds.’ </li></ul><ul><li>(Reckwitz, 2002) </li></ul>
    7. 7. Following practice approach, some research questions are: <ul><li>What are people doing? </li></ul><ul><li>How do people do what they do? </li></ul><ul><li>What do they say they do for? </li></ul><ul><li>What are doing things for them? </li></ul><ul><li>How do things do what they do? </li></ul><ul><li>How do people explain what things do? </li></ul>
    8. 8. follow the practices! a ) it allows “to follow the actors” in their everyday practices without conferring them with a priori schemes for the definition of those practices, but aiming to make sense of the practices that they devise and about which they think; b) it introduces the need to incorporate objects to the construction of the social, bringing into consideration their materiality and not only their symbolic dimension.
    9. 9. 3. Ethnography of mediation “ a field site can no longer be seen merely as a geographical location, but rather may be viewed as an intersection between people, practices and shifting terrains, both physical and virtual” (Strauss, 2000: 171-172)
    10. 10. 4. Examples of ethnographic research on media practices:
    11. 11. Self-producing video practices Elisenda Ardévol
    12. 12. Self-producing video practices <ul><li>[Theoretical framework] </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Visual Anthropology, Media Studies </li></ul></ul><ul><li>[Entry point to the field] </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Own experience, Madrid subway, YouTube </li></ul></ul><ul><li>[Key features] </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Video producers that use YouTube </li></ul></ul><ul><li>[Field] </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Video related practices </li></ul></ul>
    13. 13. Dating practices among Gays Begonya Enguix
    14. 14. Dating practices among Gays <ul><li>[Theoretical framework] </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Queer Theory, Labeling Theory, Post-Structuralism, Cultural Studies </li></ul></ul><ul><li>[Entry point to the field] </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Situated ethnographic fieldwork, </li></ul></ul><ul><li>[Key features] </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Gay men, users of digital technologies </li></ul></ul><ul><li>[Field] </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Bars, discos, dating sites, follow informants practices (phones, messenger, blogs, websites…) </li></ul></ul>
    15. 15. Digital Photography Practices Edgar Gómez
    16. 16. Digital Photography Practices <ul><li>[Theoretical framework] </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Cultural Studies, Visual Anthropology-Sociology, STS </li></ul></ul><ul><li>[Entry point to the field] </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Flickr </li></ul></ul><ul><li>[Key features] </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Amateur photographers, Heavy users of mediation technologies </li></ul></ul><ul><li>[Field] </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Digital photography sharing sites, chosen informants practices </li></ul></ul>
    17. 17. Live Blogging Adolfo Estalella
    18. 18. Live Blogging <ul><li>[Theoretical framework] </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Relational ontology </li></ul></ul><ul><li>[Entry point to the field] </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The starting point is not relevant </li></ul></ul><ul><li>[Key features] </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Individuals blogging intensively that recognize themselves as bloggers </li></ul></ul><ul><li>[Field] </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The field is a consequence of performing my presence as a blogging researcher </li></ul></ul>
    19. 19. 4 examples of ethnographic research on mediated practices: <ul><li>Self producing videos and sharing </li></ul><ul><li>Digital photography practices </li></ul><ul><li>Blogging practices </li></ul><ul><li>Dating practices among gays </li></ul><ul><li>The theoretical approach is diverse </li></ul><ul><li>The object of study are (mediated) practices </li></ul><ul><li>The “field” is defined during the research </li></ul><ul><li>The limits of the field are blurred </li></ul>
    20. 20. Thank you! Gràcies!