DAY II | Workshop “Ethnography in Urban Settings”

The speakers for the second day of the workshop brought together three major themes around urban ethnography: digitizing, collaborating, and conjuring.

In a nutshell, digitizing ethnography highlights how researchers need to take seriously and know how to handle digital data while doing research in urban settings. Digital data looks much different from a qualitative, in-depth analytical perspective in contrast with ‘big data’ or quantitative approach. That the two approaches can complement each other, and that there remains a pressing need for in-depth, fine grained life perspectives – best done through ethnographic approaches – is becoming increasingly evident.

Collaborations in urban ethnographic research can provide an important mechanism through which researchers can, not merely increase research capacity, but also come to understand our own subjectivities and positionalities visa-vis our research topics/research subjects in the urban field. By contrast to the “lone wolf” researcher style that pervades sociocultural anthropology and other disciplines that use ethnographic methods, collaboration is a useful approach to check and channel our own limitations and open up new possibilities for critically viewing our urban research data.

Finally, it is important to recognize that the urban environment is a complex and dynamic space of semiotic density, where multiple actors engaging in forms of ‘conjuring’, bringing out into the open (visually,) and call into being vforms of knowledge about urban history, social life or activism.

The second day of the workshop discussed ways to represent the digital, the collaborative and the conjured in more substantive ways in the materials of our ethnographic research data.
Posted by:Carolin Genz

Carolin Genz holds a master degree in European Ethnology and Urban Cultures from Humboldt-University of Berlin (2009-2013) and is currently doing research at the Department for Cultural and Social Geography at the Humboldt-University since 2015. Her Ph.D. topic is: "Urban Resistance: Upheaval of Civil Society? Ethnographical perspectives on the transformation of urban everyday life“. Specifically, her research focuses on practices of production and appropriation of space, urban governance and digital tools of urban resistance and network practices. Furthermore, she is an academic consultant and member of the advisory board for Gender Mainstreaming and Diversity for the Senate Department of Housing and Urban Development in Berlin.

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