F07
Methodography of data practices in STS's ethnographic collaboration and participant observation

Convenors:
Ingmar Lippert (IT University of Copenhagen)
Julie Sascia Mewes (Humboldt University Berlin)
Stream:
Discovery, discussion and decision
Format:
Location:
Bowland North Seminar Room 4
Start time:
26 July, 2018 at 9:00
Session slots:
3

Short abstract:

How does STS ethnography meet what it researches? Not prescriptive methodology - we invite methodography, describing how methods shape data. We focus on data infrastructures and practices in participant observation and in collaborating with other actants in & around the field, across difference.

Long abstract:

STS now build on and critically engage with a tradition of carefully scrutinising how natural scientists pursue their research - in the field, the laboratory, at desks and conferences. Recognising that textbooks' presentations of methods cannot be mirrored in their "applications" or "implementations", STS have questioned how to author STS accounts "after method"; and we may attend to "inventive methods" to pay attention to the various material and semiotic tools and devices (a) that configure research objects and (b) through which the researcher's data are achieved. Enacting our own STS ethnography's data involves a range of performances of "decisions", explicit and implicit assumptions and politico-normative inscriptions, contingent unfoldings and clashes with, potentially unruly, humans and non-humans (ANT's actants); we have to "manage" our data as much as our relations within the research assemblage. Interestingly, however, STS have not yet developed a strong tradition for studying how our ethnographic participant observation is shaping its generation and transformation of data. We call for studying the relation between participant observation and its data as it is configured in negotiations of different worlds, in collaborations across difference between the researcher and other actants of the research assemblage. Who and what is accountable to what else and in what way in assembling researcher, our partners, subjects, objects, our devices and our data? How do these relations effect and shape not only data but also the objects we study? Ethnographically describing and analysing our method's data practices - this we call methodography.