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Accepted Contribution:

On the Screen and In the Room: Spatial Displacement and Researcher Positionality in Collaborative Covid-19 Research  
Harris Solomon (Duke University)

Contribution short abstract:

This roundtable contribution discusses the possibilities and limits of collaborative ethnography, based on a project about the lives and labors of healthcare workers in a hospital intensive care unit (ICU) in the US during Covid-19.

Contribution long abstract:

This roundtable contribution discusses the possibilities and limits of collaborative ethnography, based on a project about the lives and labors of healthcare workers in a hospital intensive care unit (ICU) in the US during Covid-19.

The project's collaborative ethnographers included a medical anthropologist and three ICU physicians, each bound by a peculiar and productive dilemma: What does it mean when the trained ethnographer cannot enter the space of ethnographic observation? Due to hospital visitation restrictions during the pandemic, the medical anthropologist always found himself "on the other side of the screen" -- that is, put in relation to his collaborators via Zoom, but rarely in person. Moreover, the site of research -- the hospital ICU -- was off-limits to someone deeply committed to up-close hospital ethnography.

What does it mean to remove close observation from one's ethnographic habits, and what implications does this have for collaborative medical anthropological research in clinical spaces and beyond? The presentation will reflect on this question in light of project insights, as well as emergent conversations in medical anthropology and the anthropology of science about the power relations inherent to collaborative research work.

Roundtable RT083
Collaboration as method in medical anthropology. Feminist and decolonial perspectives [Medical Anthropology Europe (MAE)]
  Session 1