Monday, November 22, 2010

Scope and Interpretation of Internet Ethnography

Apologies for the late (late!) posting.

Last week's (i.e., Nov 15th) readings from internet inquiry, written by Christine Hine and Shani Orgad, respectively, were notably relevant to my peer review of Deborah Wheeler's “Information (without) Revolution? Ethnography and the Study of New Media Enabled Change in the Middle East” - I sure do wish I had read them ahead of my review! In my review I criticized Wheeler for how she both explicitly and implicitly set her study's boundaries (which Hine touches on in relation to ethnographies involving the internet) and more specifically I took issue with Wheeler's unjustified choice not to involve herself with online aspects of the culture she was studying (a choice all internet ethnographers must consider and which Orgad talks about at length). To a certain extent reading Hine's and Orgad's pieces simply added their voices to the common assertions I was reading in other sources, namely that most ethnographic study in media-saturated cultures requires that attention be paid to online contexts and that in general all ethnographic study relating to internet use should involve observation of/participation in online exchange. On the other hand, both articles go into deeper, more methodologically-based rationales for these opinions, and Orgad in particular provided more in-depth consideration of what factors contributed to choosing a blend of online and offline data, as well as how these data should be considered in relation to each other.

No comments:

Post a Comment