Palmberger, M., & Budka, P. (2020). Collaborative ethnography in the digital age: Towards a new methodological framework. Digital Ethnography Initiative (DEI) Blog, 13 Nov.
Digital ethnography has become a very vibrant research field, as the growing body of literature indicates (e.g. Hjorth et al., 2017; Pink et al., 2016). Nevertheless, we sense that methodological debates often fall short. With this contribution to the Digital Ethnography Initiative (DEI) blog, we would like to open up a discussion on key methodological and ethical issues.
More precisely, we would like to start sharing a reflection process on theoretical and methodological debates in the field of digital ethnography that we have been engaging in over the last year. This resulted in (1) a project proposal to an Austrian funding body as well as (2) in the Digital Ethnography Initiative at the Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology of the University of Vienna that we launched together with our colleague Suzana Jovicic.
In this blog post, we propose and briefly discuss three key issues and questions that are related to the challenges of ethnographic research in times of increasing digitalization. They address
(1) the individualization of interaction via smartphones and other mobile devices, which is connected to
(2) new issues of confidentiality and intimacy that call for the development of
(3) explicit collaborative research methods involving research partners in the process of collecting, interpreting and representing data.