Module 2: Digital visual and sensory ethnography approaches- working alone and with other researchers
In this module we address techniques for design ethnographic research when working alone or in teams with other researchers. Students will learn about solo approaches to the field site, and how reflecting on their own experiences can help reach research insights. They will also learn about working with colleagues in team projects and research design that accounts for the complex realities of researchers’ own lives.
While the module considers selected topics in-depth, there are themes that draw them together, and that inform all ethnographic research. The first is the centrality of ethics and responsibility. Even if the research project does not directly engage research participants, fieldwork based on auto-ethnography or participant observation must still do so in a way that emerging continually throughout the project, as discussed in Module 1.
Reflexivity is also crucial, or identifying and accounting for our own position in the field as researchers, what we bring to our research orientations and the effects we might have on the contexts in which we work. Relatedly, the role of embodiment, both in sensory perception and as a location of cultural and social factors that shape our position in and attitudes toward research. It follows that the use of researchers’ own thoughts, feelings and sensory experiences provides a powerful route to understand others’ experiences. Finally, the Module will prompt participants to consider how research materials made alone or with other researchers contributes to the scholarly analytical process, rather than stopping at mere description.
The videos offer practical insights into examples of these topics, which the reading list expands on:
- Stacy Holman-Jones and Shanti Sumartojo discuss the principles of auto-ethnography and how they have used it in their own research.
- Shanti and Melisa Duque consider their own processes of sensorial and bodily ‘attunement’ during an ethnographic project they worked on as part of a larger team.
- Shanti covers the basics of using body-mounted cameras, discussing how she and others have used them alone and with research participants, and what kinds of research insights they afford.
- What is meant by reflexivity and how to ensure it is considered carefully in the research process, including attuning to sensory bodily experience.
- How to treat your own experiences as valid research materials, and how they can help you initiate discussion or reach insight about the experiences of research participants.
- How researcher-directed digital visual technologies can help reach understandings about field sites and their designed aspects.
Attuning to Place
Using body-mounted cameras
Adams, T.E., Holman Jones, S., & Ellis, C. (2015). Autoethnography. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Adams, T.E. & Holman Jones, S. (2011). Telling stories: Reflexivity, queer theory, and autoethnography. Cultural Studies↔Critical Methodologies 11(2), pp. 108-116.
Adams, T.E. & Holman Jones, S. (2008). Autoethnography is queer. In Denzin, N.K., Lincoln, Y.S. & Smith, L.T., eds., Handbook of critical and and indigenous methodologies, pp. 373-390. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
Alexander, B.K. (2005). Performance ethnography. The reinacting and enciting of culture. In N.K. Denzin & Y.S. Lincoln (Eds.), The SAGE handbook of qualitative research, 3rd ed. (pp. 411-441).Walnut Creek, CA: Sage.
Bickel, B. (2005). From Artist to a/r/tographer: An autoethnographic ritual inquiry into writing on the body. Unpublished Master’s Thesis. University of British Columbia. Also available online http://www.barbarabickel.com
Bochner, A. & Ellis, C. (2016). Evocative autoethnography: Writing lives and telling stories. New York and London: Routledge.
Boylorn, R., Orbe, Mark P. (Eds.). 2013. Critical autoethnography: Intersecting cultural identities in everyday life. Walnut Creek, CA: Left Coast Press.
Butler, J. (2005). Giving an account of oneself. New York: Fordham University Press.
Conquergood, D. (2002). Performance studies: Interventions and radical research. The Drama Review, 46.2, 145-156.
---. (1991). Rethinking ethnography: Towards a critical cultural politics. Communication Monographs 58.2, pp. 179-194.
Gingrich-Philbrook, C. (2015). On Dorian Street. In Chawla, D. & Holman Jones, S., eds., Stories of home: Place, identity, exile, pp. 199-214. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books.
---. (2013). Evaluating (evaluations of) autoethnography. In Holman Jones, S. Adams, T.E. & Ellis, C., Handbook of autoethnography, pp. 609-626. Walnut Creek: Left Coast Press.
---. (2005). Autoethnography’s family values: Easy access to compulsory experiences. Text and Performance Quarterly 25(4), pp. 297-314.
Fournier, L. (2017). Auto-theory as an emerging mode of feminist practice across media. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, University of York, Canada.
Harris, A. & Holman Jones, S. (2019). The queer life of things: Performance, affect and the more-than-human. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books.
Holman Jones, S. (2017). Assembling a we in critical qualitative inquiry. In Denzin, N.K. &
Giardina, M.D., eds., Qualitative inquiry in neoliberal times, pp. 130-135. New York and London: Routledge.
---. (2016). Living bodies of thought: The critical in critical autoethnography. Qualitative Inquiry 22(4), pp. 228-237.
Holman Jones, S. & Harris, A. (2018). Queering autoethnography. New York/London: Routledge.
Johnson, A.L. & LeMaster, B. (2020). Gender futurity, intersectional autoethography: Embodied theorizing from the margins. New York/London: Routledge.
Madison, D.S. (2012). Critical ethnography: Method, ethics, and performances. Walnut Creek: Sage.
Nelson, M. (2016). The argonauts. Melbourne: Text Publishing.
Pearl, M.B. (2018). Theory and the everyday. Angelaki: Journal of the Theoretical Humanities 23(1): 199-203.
Pollock, D. (1998). Performing writing. 73-103. In Phelan, P., & Lane, J., eds., The ends of performance, pp. 73-103. New York and London: New York University Press.
Spry, T. (2016). Autoethnography and the other: Unsettling power through utopian performatives. New York: Routledge.
---. (2011). Body, paper, stage: Writing and performing autoethnography. New York: Routledge.
Stewart, K. (2007). Ordinary affects. Duke University Press.
Vannini, P. (2015). Non-representational ethnography: New ways of animating lifeworlds. Cultural Geographies 22(2), 317-327.
Akama, Y (2015). Being awake to Ma: designing in between-ness as a way of becoming with. CoDesign 11: 3-4, pp. 262–274, http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/15710882.2015.1081243
Sumartojo, S (2015) ‘On atmosphere and darkness at Australia’s Anzac Day Dawn Service’, Visual Communication 14(2): 267-288.
Sumartojo and Pink (2019) Atmospheres and the Experiential: Theory and Methods. Routledge. Ch 4: space-times of atmospheres, pp. 62-68.
Sumartojo, S, Edensor, T and Pink, S (2019) ‘Atmospheres in Urban Light’, Ambiance. Online 20 December 2019: http:// journals.openedition.org/ambiances/2586.
Sumartojo, S and Pink, S (2017) ‘Empathetic Visuality: Go-Pros and the video trace’, in Gómez-Cruz, E, Sumartojo, S and Pink, S (eds) Refiguring Techniques in Digital-Visual Research. London: Palgrave Pivot, 39-50.
Vannini, P and Stewart, L (2016) The GoPro gaze. cultural geographies. DOI: 10.1177/1474474016647369.
Günel, G, Varma, S and Watanabe, C (2020) A Manifesto for Patchwork Ethnography. Society for Cultural Anthropology. https://culanth.org/fieldsights/a-manifesto-for-patchwork-ethnography
Morgan, J and Pink, S Short-term ethnography: Intense Routes to Knowing. Symbolic Interaction 36(3), pp. 351–361.
Fors, V., A. Backstrom and S. Pink (2013) ‘Multisensory emplaced learning: resituating situated learning in a moving world’ Mind, Culture, and Activity: An International Journal, 20(2): 170-183. http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/10749039.2012.719991