- ArticleCo-operation and/as Participant Observation. Reflections on Ethnographic Fieldwork in MoroccoHoldermann, Simon (2019)This contribution carves out the co-operative foundations for ethnographic fieldwork, and participant observation in particular, by reflecting on the so-called ‘entry to the field’ as well as the establishment of rapport between ethnographer and interlocutors. Drawing on my fieldwork experience in the Moroccan High Atlas, I propose to understand the ethnographer’s delicate position as being both apprentice and expert simultaneously. Focusing on this relation enables methodological reflections on the workings of ethnographic research, the necessary co-operation of ‘researcher’ and ‘informants’, and the involved media practices. To take this tension seriously makes another insight possible: that the ethnographer, too, is being observed and under constant scrutiny. In this light, successful ethnographic research is possible precisely when successful conditions for mutual exchange and interaction can be situatively created and maintained. It is therefore a process of continuous co-operation that is mediated and necessarily involves media and even produces a range of different media practices.
- ArticleCooperation and Difference. Camera Ethnography in the Research Project ‘Early Childhood and Smartphone’Mohn, Bina E.; Hare, Pip; Vogelpohl, Astrid; Wiesemann, Jutta (2019)The article examines the fundamental role of cooperation and difference in ethnographic research. We use camera ethnography in our research project B05 “Early Childhood and Smartphone. Family Interaction Order, Learning Processes and Cooperation” to reveal the iconographic aspects of media practices and to examine their choreographies in space and time. This enables us to engage with aspects such as embodiment, materiality, and perception in early childhood and learning. Rather than using video technology to produce recordings of a ‘reality’ assumed to be simply there and filmable, a key methodological premise of camera ethnography is that the visibility of an object of research is not given a priori but has to be generated by media ethnographic research practices. Hence, ethnographic research practices are epistemic practices and constitute “epistemic things” (see Rheinberger 2006; Knorr-Cetina 1999). To discover and investigate media practices in early childhood involves building, shaping, and maintaining relationships of cooperation and difference.
- ArticleCoordinations, or Computing is WorkGießmann, Sebastian (2019)We humans spend most of our waking lives working. Our work includes cultural, intellectual, managerial and emotional labour as well as physical toil. And yet, most research carried out by humanities and media scholars implicitly treats the study of work as marginal, uninteresting or as a “mere” sociological topic. Even the study of “digital practices” rarely engages with the specifics of the workplace, despite the importance of distributed micro-practices such as clickworking, filesharing and collaborative editing. Information technology continues to underpin this transformation of work today, as it has in the past. For this reason, the contributions to the interdisciplinary conference “Computing is Work!” (Siegen, Germany, 6–8 July 2017) focused on computing as work practice, both on a local or situated and an infrastructural level. Speakers explored different kinds of computing as work, from computerised literary production to computer-based scientific research. In publishing this think piece as a part of the interdisciplinary online journal Media in Action, we aim to document this conference in a hybrid and productive way: so consider this think piece as a pathway to the conference talks and the conference talks as pathways to this think piece.
- ArticleEditorialEnglert, Kathrin; Faust, Lene; Henrich-Franke, Christian; Müller, Claudia; Schubert, Cornelius (2019)
- ArticleEthnomethodological Media Ethnography: Exploring Everyday Digital Practices in Families with Young ChildrenEisenmann, Clemens; Peter, Jan; Wittbusch, Erik (2019)New media have become an integral part of everyday life. In our research, we explore how media practices are employed in the mutual accomplishment of families and in the way young children grow up. This article considers the particularities of doing ethnography in this context: How can ethnographic research be conducted in a private setting and to what extent are family media practices related to practices of observing researchers? Revisiting our research process, we discuss challenges of establishing the field and maintaining relationships. Further, we focus on our media use in the field as well as briefly after fieldwork. We show how everyday family life involves ethnographers in various ways and how media practices in the field and in research interrelate and are cooperatively achieved. Rather than ignoring or correcting for these forms of involvement, our position is that they allow a better understanding of both everyday family life and media ethnography.
- ArticleMedia Ethnography and Participation in Online PracticesWaldecker, David; Englert, Kathrin; Ludwig-Mayerhofer, Wolfgang; Schmidtke, Oliver (2019)In this article, we focus on the issue of participation in online interaction in ethnography in general and in our own research in particular. In the first section, we discuss methodological questions concerning various forms of participation within the ethnography of online practices – practices that connect actors located in several different situations. Linking situations in this way transcends the traditional ethnographic mode of the researcher’s physical participation in a situation. In the second section of this article, we portray our approach to these issues in our research project, which examines the media practices of teenagers and young adults: we explore what they consider as an appropriate degree of observability on social media and how they actually use their accounts to gain attention or to stay unobserved. In doing so, we focus on the benefits and challenges of observing the online part of the young people’s interaction on and through social media.
- ArticleThe Story is Everywhere. Dispersed Situations in a Literary Role Play GameReißmann, Wolfgang (2019)This paper draws on the history and development of digital ethnography. The point of departure is that it is characteristic for digital environments to enforce feelings of being there and not being there simultaneously. Instead of invoking digital exceptionalism, however, it is assumed that mediatised ways of acting sensitise research for the fact that all situations are dispersed in one way or another. Acknowledging the distributed character of situations means accepting their fragmentary and nested character. Using the example of a literary role play game, the paper invites the reader to follow selected interconnections between heterogeneous actors, strings of actions and layers of reality.