SFB 1187 ›Medien der Kooperation‹ an der Universität Siegen
Master Class for Media Ethnography: Camera Ethnography. Filming as an epistemic practice with Bina Elisabeth Mohn
Thursday, 27 June 2024 - Friday, 28 June 2024

June 27, 2024 14:00-19:00 / June 28, 2024   9:00-13:00

Registration deadline: May 31, 2024

In advance: individual telephone conversation to discuss reference to your own project and materials.


The aim of this master class is to experience the experimental approach of camera ethnography and to try out arranging research (with reference to Wittgenstein) together by referring to the diversity of research fields which will be represented in the workshop. Participants are encouraged to bring some of their own research material to this workshop.


Filming as an epistemic practice

In our everyday use of media, we simply believe that we can capture something with a camera and share it with each other. However, if we assume that the goal of research is to get beyond the state of what is known and seen so far, then we are dealing with epistemic things that are not yet visible at first and therefore cannot just be recorded with a camera. With this consideration, Bina E. Mohn, the founder of camera ethnography, refers to the sociological laboratory studies of the 1980s and 1990s. Starting from a premise of the not (yet) visible marks the departure from strategies of camera use that assume visibility exists a priori. Camera ethnography offers a manageable representation-critical approach based on a situated methodology and can be understood as a continuous reflexive process of working on visibility and seeing. Camera ethnography lends itself particularly well to the study of nonverbal practices and socio-material constellations. Furthermore, camera ethnography is particularly suitable for an adoption of the format “übersichtliche Darstellung” (Wittgenstein): In this context, filmic arrangements serve as an attempt to answer the question of how social practices can be lived, named, and understood here and now, and there and then. For viewers of camera-ethnographic publications, this offers an opportunity to discover unexpected things about the diversity and possibility of social phenomena and practices.

The basic book by Bina E. Mohn „Kamera-Ethnographie. Ethnographische  Forschung im Modus des Zeigens. Programmatik und Praxis“ has been published in 2023, is open access and underpins this master class. Important references of the camera-ethnographic approach include Bruno Latour (science-in-the-making), Karin Knorr-Cetina (epistemic cultures), Hans-Jörg Rheinberger (experimental systems), Clifford Geertz (“thick description”), Ludwig Wittgenstein (language games and “übersichtliche Darstellung”), and Karen Barad (agential realism and intra-action).


Requirements for participation

  • Experience in ethnographic fieldwork, regardless of the medium
  • Readiness to change perspectives and media and to experiment.


Registration for the master class

Contact and registration: wiesemann@erz-wiss.uni-siegen.de

Registration deadline: May 31, 2024. Participation will be bindingly confirmed by the organizers by June 7, 2024. Please briefly answer these questions when registering:

  • Which research project am I currently working on and which practices in this field am I particularly interested in?
  • What questions do I have about media ethnographic theory and practice?
  • Which materials would I like to bring to the master class on camera ethnography?

Bina will be available to make more detailed arrangements with each of you via telephone.


University of Siegen
Campus Lower Castle
US-S 001 / 002
Obergraben 25