Moving Ethnography: Infrastructuring Doubletakes and Switchbacks in Experimental Collaborative Methods

Khandekar, Aalok and Costelloe-Kuehn, Brandon and Poirier, Lindsay and et al, . (2021) Moving Ethnography: Infrastructuring Doubletakes and Switchbacks in Experimental Collaborative Methods. Science & Technology Studies, 34 (3). pp. 78-102. ISSN 2243-4690

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In this article, we describe how our work at a particular nexus of STS, ethnography, and critical theory—informed by experimental sensibilities in both the arts and sciences—transformed as we built and learned to use collaborative workflows and supporting digital infrastructure. Responding to the call of this special issue to be “ethnographic about ethnography,” we describe what we have learned about our own methods and collaborative practices through building digital infrastructure to support them. Supporting and accounting for how experimental ethnographic projects move—through different points in a research workflow, with many switchbacks, with project designs constantly changing as the research develops—was a key challenge. Addressing it depended on understanding creative data practices and analytic workflows, redesigning and building technological infrastructure, and constant attention to collaboration ethics. We refer to this as the need for doubletakes on method. We focus on the development of The Asthma Files, a collaborative ethnography project to understand the cultural dimensions of environmental health, and on the Platform for Experimental Collaborative Ethnography, digital infrastructure first built to support The Asthma Files but now available as a community resource for archiving, analyzing, and publishing ethnographic data and writing. A key finding is that different traditions and practices of ethnography require different infrastructures. © 2021 Finnish Society for Science and Technology Studies. All rights reserved.

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IITH CreatorsORCiD
Khandekar, Aalok
Item Type: Article
Additional Information: The award of a US National Science Foundation (NSF) grant in 2015, “Environmental Health Governance in Six Cities: How Scientific Cultures, Practices and Infrastructure Shape Governance Styles,”—later expanded into the ‘Six+ Cities Study’—took The Asthma Files collaboration to a new level, and in multiple new directions. We borrowed the name from the influential ‘Harvard Six Cities Study,’a longitudinal study started in the 1970s that connected air pollution to increased mortality (Dockery et al., 1993). The study was the basis of clean air regulation passed in the United States in the 1990s, sparking intense pushback from the fossil fuel industry through lobbying organizations like the American Petroleum Institute. The data, methods, and findings of the study and associated later studies have all continued to garner sustained collaborative attention among epidemiologists, pollution scientists, and economists. We wanted to explore what an analogous collaboration at the nexus of anthropology and STS would look like, how it would sustain its data collection and analysis over time, and how this collaborative work could be done as openly as possible.
Uncontrolled Keywords: Collaboration; Digital platforms; Ethnographic methods; Ethnography; Infrastructure; The Asthma Files
Subjects: Arts > Liberal arts
Divisions: Department of Liberal Arts
Depositing User: . LibTrainee 2021
Date Deposited: 09 Sep 2022 06:32
Last Modified: 09 Sep 2022 06:32
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