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Simone Abram (Durham University)
Jude Robinson (University of Glasgow)
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- Thursday 27 August, 14:30-15:45 (UTC+0)
- 1 Panel comment
Authors:Brit Winthereik (IT University of Copenhagen)
Anders Munk (Aalborg University)
Paper long abstract:
In recent years the debate of digital methods’ dangers, potentials and transformative effects has caught on like a wildfire across the social sciences and humanities. This talk first surveys some of the ways in which anthropologists have studied digitalization and engaged in using and developing digital research methods. We then present our case which consists of a description of the joint effort of building an ethnographic archive of everyday experiences with digitalization in Denmark during the Covid19 crisis. Data collection was carried out by a task force of research assistants and students over a 3-month period from March to June 2020. Including the project’s senior staff, the archive came into being as a result of more than 20 person’s collaborative effort. Documenting everyday digitalization during the pandemic generated reflections about bodies in ethnographic research practice, especially the role of digital versus analogue presence for establishing rapport. Except from studies in Second Life, digital methods have so far mostly been secondary to participant observation and interviews, and not considering central for establishing rapport. During the pandemic research participants and researchers alike were forced to learn to establish rapport through digital platforms. We discuss this in light of the literature and conclude that the Covid19 crisis has disturbed deep-seated notions in anthropology (e.g. rapport), and in ethnographic research practice (e.g. collaboration). The talk ends by teasing out some possible lessons learned for future anthropologies.
Author:Michelangelo Paganopoulos (Ton Duc Thang University, Vietnam)
Paper short abstract:
This overview of the mathematical models used at LSHTM as they emerged out of the Covid-19 crisis highlights methodological and ethical issues in the implementation of data as public health policy.
Paper long abstract:
In proposing a collaborative role for anthropology in the post-Covid-19 world society, this paper looks at how the integration between epidemiology and anthropology emerges in real time as a necessity during and through the global crisis brought by the pandemic. The underlying hypothesis of the paper is that the ambiguities in information given to the public, along with delays in seeing the results of counter-measures, the lack of equipment, and general unpreparedness to combat the spreading of the disease, reflect upon deeper methodological and ethical issues in the processes of integration of epidemiology and anthropology via the enlargement of ethnography on a global scale. In these terms, the paper theoretically sketches the "third space" of Covid-19 as a contested arena in which knowledge still emerges in the "meantime", the time in-between grounded truths and great events through which ethnographies emerge out of the circumstances (Fischer 2018). In doing so, the paper focuses on research conducted by the LSHTM's Centre for Mathematical Modelling of Infectious Diseases (CMMID) in reference to previous research on Ebola in Africa and further research conducted in China and India on the pathogenic and socioeconomic consequences of the distribution of the virus. By investigating how gaps in methodology may correspond to gaps in public policy, the paper examines the emerging processes of integration and enlargement between social epidemiology and culturally oriented medical anthropology.