What does it say about society that we’d rather ask our phone directions than someone on the street?
The love of knowledge is a kind of madness.
― C.S. Lewis, Out of the Silent Planet
Even if you’re an amateur ethnographer, like myself, you’ll find these a really good read. Be warned, they’re long. Probably better to add them to Evernote or some other bookmarking, save for later app and read them later.
[The post below was contributed by guest blogger Laurel George, and is part of a series on the relationship between academic precarity and the production of ethnography, introduced here. Read Laurel’s prior posts: post 1 — post 2 —post3]
There’s another series to read here as well:
[The post below was contributed by guest blogger Lane DeNicola, and is part of a series on the relationship between academic precarity and the production of ethnography, introduced here. Read Lane’s previous posts: post 1 — post 2 — post 3]
I’ve long felt Instagram is an anthropologist’s treasure trove but it’s cool to hear about someone actually using it for ethnography. Love it.
Tricia Wang may hold the record for most Instagram photos taken on Chinese trains. A sociologist, ethnographer, and corporate consultant who studies global technology use among migrants, low-income people, youth, and others on society’s fringes
I’m actually a big fan of ethnographic research and really should do a better job at it. This is a great guide.
As a parent and an active digital user, this really hit home. I’ve gotten a lot better about the use of my mobile when I’m out with the family but I think I could do better especially at home.
A few years ago, DisneyWorld executives were wondering what most captured the attention of toddlers and infants at their theme park and hotels in Orlando, Florida. So they hired me and a cultural anthropologist to observe them as they passed by all the costumed cast members, animated creatures, twirling rides, sweet-smelling snacks, and colorful toys. But after a couple of hours of close observation, we realized that what most captured the young children’s attention wasn’t Disney-conjured magic. Instead it was their parents’ cell phones, especially when the parents were using them.
Those kids clearly understood what held their parents’ attention — and they wanted it too. Cell phones were enticing action centers of their world as they observed it. When parents were using their phones, they were not paying complete attention to their children.
Giving undivided attention is the first and most basic ingredient in any relationship.
The problem with social proof is that it’s just too easy to game.