Ethnography through dialogic engagements: anthropological practices and knowledge production in healthcare and public sector innovation
Paper short abstract:
The proposed paper discusses the topic of interdisciplinary collaboration in the context of healthcare and public sector innovation by examining industry practices, and explores the role of anthropology for making an impact in the wider world.
Paper long abstract:
While participating in the corporation with particular responsibilities, anthropologists/ethnographers in corporate settings have collaborated extensively with a wide range of experts in different fields, and played a critical role in navigating complex organizations and inspiring solutions (Cefkin 2009). One of the main characteristics of ethnographic praxis in corporate settings is how our knowledge is produced through collaboration based on dialogic engagements between an anthropologist/ethnographer and her stakeholders who come from different disciplinary backgrounds, ranging from designers, IT engineers to board members as well as various practitioners on the ground. Anthropological understanding we produce is a situated knowledge shaped by a context defined through a particular engagement with different collaborators. A challenge imposed on anthropologists is to open up the conversation for constructing ethnographic knowledge to non-anthropologists with different discursive frameworks. In healthcare and public sector works, our interpretive context further involves different political agendas and social interests that evoke complicated ethical issues and power relationships embedded in our ethnographic praxis. While there are no straightforward answers to address those issues, anthropologists could play an important role in highlighting different presuppositions and on-going discourses implied in the context that need to be negotiated. Ethnography could provide us a co-creation platform for interdisciplinary collaboration to engage in designing possible solutions (Bason 2010). In the proposed paper, I will discuss dialogic engagements as a way of guiding ethnographic practices and knowledge production, and further consider the role of anthropology in addressing complicated issues implied in healthcare and public sector innovation works.