Ethnography Matters is one year old! Anniversaries are always surrounded with a quality of epicness and grandness. But I don’t feel so much epic or grand today as I feel grateful.
When Heather Ford asked me to join her, Rachelle Annechino, and Jenna Burrell to start a group blog about ethnography, I immediately said yes. Honestly, it’s not too hard to get me blogging – I already have like 20 blogs. I would’ve agreed if Heather asked me to blog about doggies. Though it did help that Heather, Jenna, and Rachelle are really wonderful people 🙂
But I said yes to Ethnography Matters because I recognized that the space we were carving out was important because nobody was talking about and celebrating ethnographers who weren’t bound by the traditional boundaries of anthropology and sociology. Most conversations about ethnography were taking place either inside industry doors, academic conferences or departmentx, or blogs that fell along industry or field boundaries.
We felt that ethnography should be understood by a wider audience of non-specialists. At the same time, we recognized that ethnographers needed a space to talk about the new challenges and opportunities that digital tools posed as objects of study, as analytical tools, and as a medium for conducting fieldwork.
When I joined Ethnography Matters, I didn’t realize how important it would become for my own work. I was in the middle of an 18-month fieldwork trip that was the last phase of my 7 years of fieldwork in China. I was feeling a bit isolated from other forms of ethnography as this was my longest stint of academic research.
Since my first post in October 2011, I’ve come to rely on Ethnography Matters as a place for me to be exposed to other ethnographers’ experiences. I have learned so much from Heather, Rachelle, and Jenna over the last year.
Heather’s Wikipedia posts are always illuminating and her post on Coye Chesire’s seminar on trust is super helpful for my own research on online trust. Her interview with Stuart Geiger on the ethnography of robots really pushed me to think about ethnography in a whole different context, and even now I can’t totally wrap my mind around it – like really – ethnography on robots? Read More… Why Ethnography Matters for me: Reflections on our 1 year anniversary