Ethics and Ethnography

An outcome of a fine collaboration, fed by lots of discussions with Annamaria Carusi and with members of the Virtual Ethnography Collaboratory–thanks everyone!

Beaulieu, Anne and Adolfo Estalella. In Press, 2012. Rethinking Research Ethics for Mediated Settings. Information, Communication and Society. A bit more about the background for this paper can be found on this other blog.

TL Taylor at VKS

One of the final activities of the virtual ethnography collaboratory of the Virtual Knowledge Studio was the visit of TL Taylor. During her time in Amsterdam, TL focused on a book project, on ethnographic methodology for the study of virtual worlds, in which she is involved with other colleagues. She presented on part of this project in our research meeting, in a talk entitled ‘Ethnography as Play’.

Another part of the visit consisted in the preparation of a session on Fieldwork as Method and Process for Artful Encounters: on ethnography, art and conservation. TL and I had a great time interviewing each other, and we were very pleased at how generously the audience reacted when we turned the interview questions on them!

Workshop on e-research ethics

Ethnographers and other researchers doing fieldwork in highly mediated contexts will be interested in this upcoming workshop:

Ethics of e-research: What are the issues? What can researchers do?

In the framework of the project ‘e-research ethics’, a workshop will be held in Amsterdam on 12 October 2010. In the course of the afternoon, participants will discuss and reflect on the issues around ethics of e-research and the role of researchers in addressing them. Debate around these issues was initiated in Oxford in July 2010 and is ongoing at For more information and registration, please contact Anne Beaulieu ( before 7 October.


Our next read, calling all readers! Doodle poll is in the  making and will soon reveal the date of the next meeting!

Tsing, Anna L. Friction: an ethnography of globla connection

Post-doc gezocht, Utrecht

Het Langeveld Instituut heeft ten behoeve van het Wired Up programma een vacature voor een Postdoc digitale geletterdheid van migrantenjeugd (0,8 fte, 2 jaar.

De postdocpositie wordt vervuld binnen het grotere kader van het Wired Up programma, een internationaal, interdisciplinair project gefinancierd door de Universiteit Utrecht in het kader van het High Potential Programma. Het programma is een samenwerkingsverband tussen de faculteit Sociale Wetenschappen en de faculteit Geesteswetenschappen. Hiernaast bestaat een samenwerkingsverband met Vanderbilt University, USA. In het Wired Up programma wordt onderzocht hoe nieuwe digitale media, in het bijzonder het internet, het leven, de identiteit en de socialisatie van migrantenjongeren beïnvloedt.

Deadline for applications is 29 March.

Co-presence as ethnographic approach

Much of the ethnographic work that goes on at the VKS has been shaped by the tradition of ethnographic lab studies from Science and Technology Studies. These past couple of years, as the VKS has explored the humanities and e-research, these ethnographic methods have been adapted. A number of conference presentations and publications (this one and this one, among others) on this topic have been the result.

An upcoming contribution in Social Studies of Science is called from From Co-location to Co-presence. Here’s what it’s about:

As STS scholars increasingly study forms of knowledge production where the space of the lab (or similar locale) is much less central, other ways of conceptualizing the field may be especially useful for ethnographic research. In particular, ethnographic approaches must loosen their grip on co-location as a necessary requirement for ‘being in the field’, if they are to consider important issues about knowledge production that arise in fields, such as those in the humanities or e-research. Key STS topics, like new forms of authoritative knowledge, the changing shape of scientific work, and dynamics of innovation can be explored through ethnography. But in order to do so, the ethnographic approach must adapt in order to study these fields in which research practices are not concentrated in lab-like spaces.

By using co-presence rather than co-location as a starting point to conceptualise and articulate fieldwork, new aspects of knowledge production are foregrounded in ethnographic studies. This research note proposes and discusses co-presence as an epistemic strategy that pays close attention to non-lab based knowledge production; that can embrace textuality, infrastructure and mediation; and that draws into relief the role of ethnographer as author, participant-observer and scholar.

Because it does not assume the centrality of shared space, the notion of co-presence can be useful in ethnographies of e-research, as well as of other fields in the sciences and humanities that involve highly mediated forms of research or where the lab does not figure so prominently.

This work was discussed at the workshop In the Game, held in Copenhagen last October as an AoIR pre-conference workshop.

Calling all readers…

What shall we read for our next reading group meeting?




Books, books, books, books, books, books, and books., originally uploaded by kennymatic.