SFB 1187 ›Medien der Kooperation‹ an der Universität Siegen
Workshop – “Media Ethnography – Where Is the Action? Cooperative Media Practices in Ethnographic Fieldwork”
Thursday, 14. - Friday, 15 June 2018 Organized by Clemens Eisenmann, Inka Fürtig, Simon Holdermann, David Waldecker, Claudia Müller und Martin Dickel

Research practices are based on and produce distinct forms of cooperation and media. Researchers cooperate with materiality, with each other and with individuals who participate in the research and supply relevant information – e.g. by being observed, by being questioned or by giving tissue samples. While cooperating, researchers necessarily draw on a number of media that are present in their own field, in their research fields and in everyday life – e.g. language, signage, notebooks, documents, protocols, digital traces, pictures, films. Furthermore, researchers create media of their own: such as fieldnotes, indexes, audio and video recordings, slides, texts etc.

This is particularly true for media ethnography (Bender/Zillinger 2015). Media ethnography focuses on the collective and cooperative production and use of media in situ. In this perspective, social activities and their media are co-constitutive. The research itself is highly dependent on the cooperation with informants and individuals in the field and draws heavily on already present media. At the same time, research itself constitutes a certain form of cooperation mediated by techniques, artefacts and routines. In constant dialogue, through the juxtaposition of concepts and by engaging in situated practices, it is mutually made and mutually shown to each other what is relevant and meaningful. The data produced during research are thus produced cooperatively, but not without potential conflicts. Once the researcher has left the field, he or she depends on various media and forms of cooperation within the scientific community to analyse and eventually publish the results.

Classic studies of scientific practices have focused on the hard sciences (Latour, Knorr Cetina, Lynch, Heintz, Star etc.). So far, there is little systematic research of the research processes of qualitative social research and media studies. However, there is an ongoing reflection concerning the “poetics and politics” (Clifford/Marcus 1986), the ethics and epistemology of ethnographic methods within the fields of anthropology (e.g. Lave 2011) and sociology (e.g. Hitzler/Gothe 2015) as well as a growing interest in studying doing sociology (Meyer/Meier zu Verl 2013, Engert/Krey 2013, Schindler 2017). Further, the status of ethnographic participation and observation in digitally networked media has been discussed as digital ethnography (Pink et al. 2016), virtual ethnography (Hine 2000), webnography (Strübing 2006), ethnographic research in a pluri-local and computer-mediated field (Greschke 2007), and netnography (Kozinets 2015). Also, attention has been paid to the status and role of cameras and visual data (e.g. Mohn 2013, Schindler 2012, Hoggenmüller 2016, Meyer 2015) in ethnographic methods.

In this vein, our two workshops aim at analysing the ways cooperative media and mediated cooperation are produced in media ethnography; we suggest to discuss the research focus of the Siegen Collaborative Research Centre – media of cooperation as ongoing mutual accomplishments – in relation to our own everyday research practices. Which kinds of cooperative media and mediated cooperation are used and created in participant observation and connected forms of research methodologies? How do media used in the field relate to the various media of research? How to deal with conflict, friendship, collaboration, bodies as media of cooperation, and the multiplication of situations via screens and their mediations as text, (recorded) sounds and (moving) images – in relation to on- and offline practicalities of doing research? How do these practices of cooperation inform our understanding of the fields and objects of study and lead to theorisation?


Programm : Workshop - Media Ethnography – Where is the Action? Cooperative Media Practices in Ethnographic Fieldwork

Thursday 14 June 2018

10:00: Introduction

10:15 - 12.30 Cooperative Media Practices: positionality, difference, intervention, controversy, and (in-)visibility.(Outlines by projects A 05, B 03, B 04, B 05, B 06, B 07)

12:30 - 13:30 Lunch Break (light lunch)

13:30 - 14:30 Roles, Creativity and Accessible Co-Design with People with Aphasia. Timothy Neate (City University London)

14:45 - 15:45 Chatbots – Media Artefacts, Algorithms or Participants? Jessamy Perriam (Open University)

15:45 - 16:15 Coffee Break

16:15 - 17:15 Visualisations of the Intangible Cultural Heritage. Of Inheriting the Kankurang in Senegal and the Gambia. Claudia Jürgens (TU Berlin)

17:30 - 18:00 „Change of Perspectives in the Park“ (12 min.). A reflexive camera-ethnographic film miniature Astrid Vogelpohl (B 05)

from 18:30 Dinner at the Brasserie, Museum of Contemporary Art

Friday 15 June 2018

09:30 - 10:00 Get together & Coffee

10:00 - 11:00 Speaking about Speaking Machines. Practices of Digitalisation in India. Susanne Ebner (Köln)

11:15 - 12:15 Tele-Observation. Use – Trace – Production. Vanessa Wein (Mainz)

12:15 - 12:45 Coffee Break (& Imbiss)

12:45 - 14:00 Beyond the Action? New Directions in Media Ethnography (with Principal Investigators of the CRC)

14:00 Farewell


Universität Siegen
Museum für Gegenwartskunst
Unteres Schloss 1
57072 Siegen