March 24: A SAMPLER OF METHODS & FORMATS

Via Present & Correct

Continuing our earlier discussion re: the visualization and sonification of logistics, we explore a variety of experimental methods for understanding expansive, multi-scalar, and often stubbornly obfuscatory systems — and the artifacts and agents that work within and around them.

Artifact Analysis Presentations: Catherine, Orshi

Lab: Small Group Methods Workshop

To be reviewed for today’s class:

  • Consider what methods we’ve already observed in our readings and practiced in class. Now, let’s think about how we might investigate systems that are seemingly too expansive to lend themselves to empirical observation — or technologies that are too complex, or proprietary, to allow us to comprehend their operational logics. How might we approach such subjects obliquely?
  • Ethnographies of Expansive Sociotechnical Systems / Multimodal Ethnography: Michael M. J. Fischer, Prologue in Anthropology in the Meantime: Experimental Ethnography, Theory, and Method for the Twenty-First Century (Duke University Press, 2018): focus on “Anthropology and Ethnography in the Meantime,” A Colloquy of Essays,” “Ethnography for Whom, With Whom?…” and “Future Sensing, Human Redesign, Ground-Truthing”: pp. 3-14, 28-30.
  • Understanding Algorithms: choose one: Taina Bucher, “Neither Black Nor Box: (Un)knowing Algorithms,” in If… Then: Algorithmic Power and Politics (Oxford University Press, 2018): 41-65 or Nick Seaver, “Algorithms as Culture: Some Tactics for the Ethnography of Algorithmic Systems,” Big Data & Society (2017).
  • Understanding Interfaces: choose one: Zoe Carey, “Interfacing Predictive Policing” [manuscript in progress; Zoe, an NSSR Sociology PhD candidate, began this project in our Spring 2019 “Thinking Through Interfaces” class – please do not circulate!] or Shannon Mattern, “Interfacing Urban Intelligence,” Places Journal (April 2014).
  • Trade Fair Ethnography: Theodore Baird, “Knowledge of Practice: A Multi-Sited Event Ethnography of Border Security Fairs in Europe and North America,” Security Dialogue 48:3 (2017): 187-205.
  • Making Guides: Shannon Mattern, “Cloud and Field,” Places Journal (August 2016).
Via Present & Correct

Supplemental Resources:

  • Mike Ananny and Kate Crawford, “Seeing Without Knowing: Limitations of the Transparency Ideal and Its Applications to Algorithmic Accountability,” New Media & Society (2016).
  • * Jenna Burell, “The Fieldsite as a Network: A Strategy for Locating Ethnographic Research,” in Larissa Hjorth, Heather Horst, Anne Galloway, and Genevieve Bell, eds., The Routledge Companion to Digital Ethnography (Routledge, 2016): 10 pp.
  • Brenda Chalfin, “On-Shore, Off-Shore Takoradi: Terraqueous Urbanism, Logistics, and Oil Governance in Ghana,” Environment and Planning D 37:5 (2019): 814 – 832.
  • Johanna Drucker, Graphesis: Visual Forms of Knowledge Production (metaLab / Harvard University Press, 2014).  
  • Paolo S. H. Favero and Eva Theunissen, “With the Smartphone as Field Assistant: Designing, Making, and Testing EthnoAlly, a Multimodal Tool for Conducting Serendipitous Ethnography in a Multisensory World,” American Anthropologist 120:1 (2018): 163-7.  
  • Jessica Faycurry, “Approaches to Sensory Landscape Archaeology,” Spectrum 2:1 (2012).
  • R. Stuart Geiger and David Ribes, “Trace Ethnography: Following Coordination Through Documentary Practices,” HICSS ‘11 Proceedings, 44th Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences, January, 2011.
  • Florian Hadler and Joachim Haupt, eds., Interface Critique (Kulturverlag Kadmos, 2016).
  • Interface Critique Journal.
  • Hannah Knox and Dawn Nafus, eds., Ethnography for a Data-Saturated World (Manchester University Press, 2018).
  • Hege Høyer Leivestad and Anette Nyqvist, Ethnographies of Conferences and Trade Fairs (Palgrave Macmillan, 2017).
  • Celia Lury, Rachel Fensham, Alexandra Heller-Nicholas, Sybille Lammes, Angela Last, Mike Michael, and Emma Uprichard, eds., Routledge Handbook of Interdisciplinary Research Methods (Routledge, 2018).
  • Shannon Mattern, “Mission Control: A History of the Urban Dashboard,” Places Journal (March 2015).
  • Dawn Nafus, “Exploration or Algorithm? The Undone Science Before the Algorithms,” Cultural Anthropology 33:3 (2018): 368 – 374.
  • Lisa Poggilai, “Seeing (From) Digital Peripheries: Technology and Transparency in Kenya’s Silicon Savannah,” Cultural Anthropology 31:3 (2016): 387-411.
  • William Rankin, After the Map: Cartography, Navigation, and the Transformation of Territory in the Twentieth Century (University of Chicago Press, 2016).
  • Nick Seaver, “On Reverse Engineering,” Anthropology and Algorithms (January 27, 2014).
  • James Merricks White, “Rethinking the Spaces of Standardization through the Concept of Site,” Technoscienza 8:2 (2017): 151-74.
  • Shoshana Zuboff, “Rendition: From Experience to Data” and “Rendition From the Depths,” in The Age of Surveillance Capitalism: The Fight for a Human Future at the New Frontier of Power (Hachette, 2019): 139-171.

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