P15b


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Is the future of fieldwork digital? Digital ethnography beyond the pandemic. 
Convenors:
Catherine O'Brien (University of Oxford)
Laura Bergin (The University of Oxford)
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Format :
Panel
Sessions:
Tuesday 7 March, -
Time zone: Europe/London

Short Abstract:

Digital ethnographic methods have become increasingly pervasive during the pandemic. This panel seeks to question whether this trend will continue, weigh the benefits of in-person, digital, and hybrid research, and question the future of anthropological research.

Long Abstract:

There has been a long legacy of anthropologists undertaking lengthy physically-situated fieldwork. However, the pandemic wrought an increased necessity and demand for digital ethnography. This approach afforded access while physical research was not possible and increased awareness of the abundance of social and material interactions in online and hybrid spaces, contributing to the literature in digital anthropology.

This panel seeks to question whether ethnography can ever be conducted in purely digital or terrestrial ways given the increasingly hybrid lives we and our participants lead. What social, phenomenological, or sensory access is lost or gained through limiting research methods to solely in-person or digital ethnography?

Does digital or hybrid ethnography offer any solutions to issues of accessibility or promote inclusivity by enabling researchers to conduct research at a distance without having to spend extended periods of time away from dependents and support networks?

In a post-pandemic world, is solely digital research a legitimate form of anthropology, or does it stray too far from the legacies of the ethnographic tradition?

As a result of the pandemic, many anthropologists have become well versed in digital methods or have been trained solely using digital means. As the world re-opens and the possibilities for in-person ethnography expand, will the prevalence of digital ethnography continue to prosper? For early career academics and doctoral students who have undergone significant training and exposure to these methods, will this focus remain as their careers progress?

Accepted papers:

Session 1 Tuesday 7 March, 2023, -
Panel Video visible to paid-up delegates