Accepted Paper:

Finding one's rhythm: a mobile ethnography on the road with a touring band  


Anna Lisa Ramella (University of Cologne)

Paper short abstract:

Drawing from my PhD research on mobility of touring musicians, this paper explores the process and quest of a fieldwork between getting used to a mobile lifestyle myself whilst observing the strategies of the actors in finding stability within movement.

Paper long abstract:

In early summer of 2013, I conducted fieldwork with a touring band for my PhD-thesis concerning daily labour mobility. The methodology of participant observation meant not only an intimate engagement with the lifeworld of the subjects, but a transformation of my own daily rhythm from a sedentary to a mobile lifestyle.

This paper explores the notions of this double-engagement and the experimental value of a fieldwork "on the move". While the actors of the research have developed (and constantly are developing) skills and strategies to enable a feeling of "place" within their constant movement, their expertise is linked to specific but at the same time indeterminable rituals and regularities. The indescribability of automatisms and developed strategies challenges the researcher towards creative fieldwork methods, while the difficulty of communicating in a collaborative sense becomes an issue of group dynamics. Furthermore, the regularities are usually related to the daily work and the forthcoming of the tour, for which they are not necessarily accessible for the researcher accompanying the band.

In this paper, I would like to show some of the aspects relating to the mobility of the subjects of my research and the finding of my own rhythm within the infrastructures of their tour.

Panel IP05
Ethnography as collaboration/experiment