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Accepted Paper:

Coding as a Methodological Approach for Researching Programming Processes  
Tamara Gupper (Goethe University, Frankfurt am Main)

Paper short abstract:

This paper addresses the participation in coding as an ethnographic and autoethnographic approach for researching programming processes.

Paper long abstract:

My research is positioned between cultural anthropology and computer science in a number of ways. For my PhD project in cultural anthropology, I work on the processes through which software is written for humanoid robots in a team of computer scientists who program such robots to play soccer. My methodological approach is both ethnographic and autoethnographic, as I am simultaneously pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in computer science and have joined this team as an active member. I thus participate in programming the software for the robots with the computer scientists I conduct ethnographic research with.

This paper will address my experiences of gaining ethnographic insights of coding, and of coding for ethnographic insights. It will focus on methodological reflections of my positionality, and how participating in the coding processes provided me with a deeper of my research topic that would otherwise have been hard to gain. It will also explore my trajectory of becoming a computer scientist and a programmer of humanoid robots during fieldwork.

Panel P23a
Programming anthropology: coding and culture in the age of AI
  Session 1 Friday 10 June, 2022, -