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Lecture Series: Data Ethnography – Crystal Abidin (Curtin University)

28. Januar 2020

Cultures in the influencer Industry via Soft and Hard Data Experiences – Crystal Abidin (Curtin University)

New generations of ethnographers are often as familiar with digital media as their research participants, and yet this familiarity does not necessarily grant smooth entrées, flawless interactions, effortless participation and clean-cut conclusions. Rather, despite their interactional proficiency and insider positioning, digital ethnographers can encounter deadlocks, rejections and failures. Moreover, as post-graduate students and early career researchers using ethnographic methods to approach digital media, many of us find ourselves grappling with an overwhelming proliferation of manuals, handbooks and lexicons that increasingly feel as a cyclical exercise in academic branding. Despite our preparation for fieldwork, a majority of what ethnographers actually do in the field may require ‘gut-feeling’, ‘sensing’, and ‘whim’. But the calibration of these ‚in the moment‘ decisions can be fine-tuned, rehearsed, and ingrained through honing an ethnographic sensibility, anthropological eye, and reflexive immersion in the field. In this lecture, I present a series of seemingly minor but important methodological decisions pertaining to my traditional and digital fieldwork among social media Influencer cultures in the Asia Pacific and Scandinavian regions since 2008. These confessional anecdotes of ‘behind the scenes’ labour can be taken as suggestions on how to negotiate one’s positionalities during ethnographic encounters between and betwixt physical and digital fieldsites, including the conception of innovative mobile media methods, negotiating inter-disciplinary gatekeeping and purism, conceptual developments and buzzword politics, and the tensions around legitimizing one’s methodological choices.


Biweekly on Tuesdays – 6pm – AH 217/218

23 Oct Luciana Parisi (Duke University) Datapower: Prediction and Incomputability
29 Oct Jolynna Sinanan (University of Sydney) Little Cultures of Small Data: Everyday Digital Experiences
12 Nov David Moats (Linköping University) Crunching Data Like an Anthropologist: Rethinking the Divide Between Data Science and Interpretive Social Science
26 Nov Aline Franzke (University of Duisburg-Essen) Situated Knowledge as a Concept for Data Ethics
10 Dec Vladan Joler (University of Novi Sad) Exploitation Forensics
14 Jan Arran Ridley (University of Leeds) Notes From the Design Studio: Charting how Designers Design with and for Data
21 Jan Arjun Appadurai (New York University) Digitality, Memory and Failure
28 Jan Crystal Abidin (Curtin University) Cultures in the influencer Industry via Soft and Hard Data Approaches


28. Januar 2020