Experimenting with Ethnography

A Companion to Analysis

Experimenting with Ethnography

Experimental Futures

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Book Pages: 320 Illustrations: 33 illustrations Published: July 2021

Anthropology > Cultural Anthropology, Science and Technology Studies, Sociology

Experimenting with Ethnography collects twenty-one essays that open new paths for doing ethnographic analysis. The contributors—who come from a variety of intellectual and methodological traditions—enliven analysis by refusing to take it as an abstract, disembodied exercise. Rather, they frame it as a concrete mode of action and a creative practice. Encompassing topics ranging from language and the body to technology and modes of collaboration, the essays invite readers to focus on the imaginative work that needs to be performed prior to completing an argument. Whether exchanging objects, showing how to use drawn images as a way to analyze data, or working with smartphones, sound recordings, and social media as analytic devices, the contributors explore the deliberate processes for pursuing experimental thinking through ethnography. Practical and broad in theoretical scope, Experimenting with Ethnography is an indispensable companion for all ethnographers.

Contributors. Patricia Alvarez Astacio, Andrea Ballestero, Ivan da Costa Marques, Steffen Dalsgaard, Endre Dányi, Marisol de la Cadena, Marianne de Laet, Carolina Domínguez Guzmán, Rachel Douglas-Jones, Clément Dréano, Joseph Dumit, Melanie Ford, Elaine Gan, Oliver Human, Alberto Corsín Jiménez, Graham M. Jones, Trine Mygind Korsby, Justine Laurent, James Maguire, George E. Marcus, Annemarie Mol, Sarah Pink, Els Roding, Markus Rudolfi, Ulrike Scholtes, Anthony Stavrianakis, Lucy Suchman, Katie Ulrich, Helen Verran, Else Vogel, Antonia Walford, Karen Waltorp, Laura Watts, Brit Ross Winthereik


“This innovative book about ethnography as knowledge provokes in all the right ways. Packed with concrete and creative suggestions for doing, writing, and teaching ethnography well beyond anthropology, Experimenting with Ethnography offers thoughtful inspiration for anyone seeking to sharpen their analytical skills.” — Carole McGranahan, editor of Writing Anthropology: Essays on Craft and Commitment

“Along with much else, analysis is at risk today, as it is equated with actionable findings, tempting us to bracket everything that's confusing. What to do? Let this stunning gathering of anthropologists surprise, puzzle, and enlighten you: their work opens up an altogether different mode of analysis, one that expands the range of incompatibilities that can be held together in thought, a critical competence for anyone committed to knowing and acting in and with, not merely of and on, our world.” — Noortje Marres, author of Digital Sociology: The Reinvention of Social Research


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Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Andrea Ballestero is Associate Professor of Anthropology at Rice University and author of A Future History of Water, also published by Duke University Press. She also directs The Ethnography Studio.

Brit Ross Winthereik is Professor of Science and Technology Studies and Ethnography at the IT University of Copenhagen and coauthor of Monitoring Movements in Development Aid: Recursive Partnerships and Infrastructures.

Table of Contents Back to Top
Acknowledgments  ix
Introduction. Analysis as Experimental Practice / Andrea Ballestero and Brit Ross Winthereik  1
Part I. Bodily Practices
1. Tactile Analytics: Touching as a Collective Act / Patricia Alvarez Astacio  15
2. The Ethnographic Hunch / Sarah Pink  30
3. The Para-Site in Ethnographic Research Projects / George E. Marcus  41
4. Juxtaposition: Differences That Matter / Else Vogel  53
Part II. Physical Objects
5. Relocating Innovation: Postcards from Three Edges / Endre Dányi, Lucy Suchman, and Laura Watts  69
6. Object Exchange / Trine Mygind Korsby and Anthony Stavrianakis  82
7. Drawing as Analysis: Thinking in Images, Writing in Words / Rachel Douglas-Jones 94
8. Diagrams: Making Multispecies Temporalities Visible / Elaine Gan  108
Part III. Infrastructural Play
9. Ethnographic Drafts and Wold Archives / Alberto Corsín Jiménez  123
10. Multimodal Sorting: The Flow of Images across Social Media and Anthropological Analysis / Karen Waltorp  133
11. Categorize, Recategorize, Repeat / Graham M. Jones  151
12. Sound Recording as Analytic Technique / Brit Ross Winthereik and James Maguire  163
Part IV. Incommensurabilities
13. Substance as Method (Shaking Up Your Practice) / Joseph Dumit  175
14. Excreting Variously: On Contrasting as an Analytic Technique / Justine Laurent, Oliver Human, Carolina Domínguez Guzmán, Els Roding, Ulrike Scholtes, Marianne de Laet, and Annemarie Mol  186
15. Facilitating Breakdowns through the Exchange of Perspectives / Steffen Dalsgaard  198
16. Analogy / Antonia Walford  209
17. Decolonizing Knowledge Devices / Ivan da Costa Marques  219
18. Writing an Ethnographic Story in Working toward Responsibly Unearthing Ontological Troubles / Helen Verran  235
19. Not Knowing: In the Presence of . . . / Marisol de la Cadena  246
Afterword 1. Questions, Experiments, and Movements of Ethnographies in the Making / Melanie Ford Lemus and Katie Ulrich  257
Afterword 2. Where Would You Put This Volume? On Thinking with Unruly Companions in the Middle of Things / Clément Dréano and Markus Rudolfi  262
References  267
Contributors  287
Sales/Territorial Rights: World

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Additional InformationBack to Top
Paper ISBN: 978-1-4780-1199-6 / Cloth ISBN: 978-1-4780-1074-6