This roundtable unpacks the questions: What is an ethnographic case? What can it be made to be? The discussion marks the launch of a new publication in Mattering Press that allows readers to comment publically on text prior to printing—an experiment in open, collaborative forms of peer review. Preregistration form: https://goo.gl/forms/yWyUZyihjLuBZeoA2
This roundtable starts by asking: What is an ethnographic case? Taking ethnography as a mode of authorship that attends to the relationship between form and content, this question quickly becomes: What can it be made to be? We will discuss what cases generate, the shapes they take, and our reasons for resisting or embracing them in/as analysis.
There is a rich history of casework across different fields of expertise. The expository medical case, attentive to the unusual, helps with diagnosis and instruction. The psychoanalytic case is built from fragments of remembered details with therapeutic objectives. The legal case establishes a precedent, while the criminal case exists as a mystery to be solved. The ethnographic case may be all of these things: instructing, dis/proving, establishing, evoking. It may achieve different ends altogether. 'The case' and ethnography may be antithetical: the former a short reflection, the latter based on long-term commitment. However, we suspect that a case becomes ethnographic in how it situates any given event within other narratives. The particulars of ethnographic cases may not aspire to generality, but may instead change the possibilities for generality. How this works in practice will be taken up in our discussion.
This event marks the formal launch of phase 1 of an experimental Mattering Press publication. During the workshop we will employ a new online commenting function, test out collaborative peer-review, and seek to connect and compare disparate ethnographic cases. We invite anyone interested in working with cases to join our conversation.
Please pre-register via here: https://goo.gl/forms/yWyUZyihjLuBZeoA2