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Caring for digital fieldwork: care-ful method practice in/of digitized worlds through methodography 
Frauke Rohden (Chalmers University of Technology)
Sylvia Irene Lysgård (Oslo Metropolitan University)
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Ingmar Lippert (Goethe University Frankfurt)
Julie Sascia Mewes (Museum für Naturkunde Berlin)
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Short Abstract:

This panel focuses on method practices in digital fieldwork to foster discussions on digital ethnographic work in STS. Appreciating the performativity of methods as world-making, the interest lies in methodographies of how methods shape data and objectives, and methods’ relationship to the digital.

Long Abstract:

This panel focuses on care-ful explorations of method practice in digital fieldwork through methodography (Greiffenhagen et al., 2011; Lippert and Mewes, 2021), ethnographically describing and analysing how methods shape research in and of the digital towards societal transformation.

Beyond digital STS (Vertesi & Ribes 2019) and a narrow focus on natively digital methods applied to natively digital materials (Rogers 2019), more and more researchers are engaging with the digital in their work as digitalization increasingly transforms daily life. To account for the diversity of approaches, we define digital fieldwork (Lindgren 2019, Venturini & Rogers 2019) broadly to include virtual, digitized, and natively digital methods.

Ethnographic methods examining the complex and often messy interactions online offer valuable insights. However, 'the digital' poses new challenges regarding data management, privacy, and consent, as well as handling large amounts of collected data and platform terms of service. Adopting a reflexive approach that considers the makings and doings of digital fieldwork contributes to discussions on how methods can mobilize STS sensibilities and their transformative effects.

We are interested in reflexive accounts that inquire into formatting, standardising, re-presenting and performative engagements as care-ful STS method practice (Law & Lin, 2022; Mewes & Lippert, 2024). Our objective is to facilitate a conversation about how we configure accountability between researchers, our subjects, objects and devices, while attending to how these assemblages are generative of the objects we study (cf. Kenney 2015).

We invite papers methodographically engaging with their “doings of data”, concerned with the practicalities and performativities of conducting various modes of digital fieldwork. We have a specific interest in methodographic approaches - not prescriptive methodologies – on how their methods shape data and objectives, as well as their relationship to 'the digital'.

Accepted papers: