lunes, junio 20, 2005

Blogs as ethnographies. 

I am still at it, researching about “cultures” in the internet.

And to the extent that culture is accepted as text, then I will submit to the idea of “culture … presented as text, which the ethnographer is to read”(Beaulieu, 2004, p.155). … an idea explored by Schaap, (2002), attributed to Geertz in: Beaulieu, A. (2004) Mediating Ethnography: Objectivity and the Making of Ethnographies of the Internet. Social Epistemology, Vol. 18, No. 2-3, pp. 139-163.

According to the author, the internet (as context and content) allows for a multiplicity of venues to explore in terms of the technology’s potential to produce “objective knowledge”. The later being the ultimate purpose of ethnographies.

The main argument is whether “computer mediated communication” is a rich enough environment to “sustain meaningful social relations”, that is “the site of uniquely meaningful sociality” (Beaulieu, 2004, p. 143). Actually, I agree with the realization that the internet is an ambient instead of an environment. Now watch the citation for that…. (Mitchell, 1995, 8-9; quoted by Pink, 1999, 114; in Beaulieu, 2004, p. 155). Ja!

Contrary to the traditionally unobtrusive and invisible stance attributed to ethnographies, knowledge comes from engagement and interaction… and “intersubjectivity” an important “theme in efforts …. to produce a new kind of representation of ethnographic knowledge” (Beaulieu, 2004, p. 150). Interaction with others is the bases of intersubjectivity and allowable in blogs through comments. YES, PLEASE COMMENT!

About blogs:

“Blogs both help these ethnographers create the object, and make visible the subjectivity of the researcher. The blog is therefore felt to be a context and a mode of communication, a hybrid tool for making, presenting and reflecting on the object that is furthermore exposed in any way.” ” (Beaulieu, 2004, p. 151).

The whole idea of culture as text is interestingly discussed here in relation to the distancing and objectification that the ethnographer achieves by documenting a predominantly oral representation of reality. So in essence, once phenomena is documented the trained eye chooses the elements in the portrayal. In forums and blogs, the text is the expression and the choice of text to capture the ethnographer’s role.

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