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L04


Ethnography as evidence. 
Convenors:
Stefania Cardinale (Independent Researcher)
Mark Lindley-Highfield of Ballumbie Castle (University of the Highlands and Islands)
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Format:
Labs
Sessions:
Friday 2 April, 14:15-15:45 (UTC+1)

Short Abstract:

We invite anthropologists to share their experience about translating ethnography, data and methods into 'evidence' when applying anthropology under the pressure of work contracts, terms of reference, deadlines, practices, inter-subjective encounters: what are the implications met by researchers?

Long Abstract

The topic of 'evidence' touches particularly on the practical world where the anthropologist is invited to act as the 'expert'. One question that could be asked of anthropologists conducting research outside academia is, "How can such an intersubjective exercise as

fieldwork produce evidence?" (Engelke, 2008). In large part, skepticism prevails as to how the complexity of knowledge coming from ethnographic fieldwork, theory and methods to real-world issues, can be reduced to practical, analytical explanations, and evidence to meet the demands of clients.

Anthropologists may feel a certain kind of unease when confronted with the deadlines and requests of clients. What are the practical, epistemological, ethical, personal or political implications of translating ethnographic data into evidence for impact on public policies, praxis and/or products?

Drawing on the experience of anthropologists, this Apply Network Lab seeks to address questions of "evidence" and situate anthropological practice in relation to conversations, namely:

- the significance of ethnographic data as evidence

- understanding of the concept of evidence in applied anthropological practice

- anthropology's standards of judgement

- the potential for interdisciplinary collaboration

- the benefits of going public with anthropological data/evidence

The lab will open up the virtual discussion on methodological and epistemological possibilities for anthropological practice, aiming also at drawing insight into the "how to" translate and communicate anthropological research data to evidence. This will allow anthropologists, and particularly young students, to reflect also on pursuing their studies from the perspective of employment outside the academy.