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The roundtable will examine how digital technologies impact the anthropological methodology by discussing issues related to the ethics of digital research, the contemporary understanding of the field site, public intimacy, data management, the notion of public/private, and online/offline identities.
Digital media penetrates into the minutiae of everyday life. As more and more of our lives are lived out online, we must raise questions about the role of digital media in research. Yet, despite the explosion of digitalisation in life, its use in research remains partial, under-used and under-discussed. Questions of how data gained through digital research can be managed, as well as how to best use new technologies in research, what this means for notions of public and private, as well as traditional ideas of the field-site are all issues underpinned by ideas of ethics and how ethical research should inform methodology in increasingly digitised worlds. This roundtable will examine how digital technologies impact the anthropological methodology such as managing digital research ethically, understanding the field site in the contemporary age, questioning ideas of public and private expressions and differentiating between online and offline identities. The discussion will address the ideas of what Soysal (2010) terms public intimacy, management and, particularly, storage of data as well as how to engage in and with digital lives. Appointing the masses of accumulated digital data, this roundtable will reflect on how researchers deal with big data including traces that the researching bodies create over the course of the investigation and communication using digital technology. Detecting new directions in the history of fieldwork engagement/methods, this round table attempts to place digital media firmly into a practical discussion about methodologies and to contribute to a framework about research ethics in the digital realm.