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The Makings of Anthropology in the Digital World

Edited by Roger Sanjek and Susan W. Tratner

312 pages | 6 x 9 | 27 illus.
Paper 2015 | ISBN 9780812247787 | $37.50s | Outside the Americas £28.99
Ebook editions are available from selected online vendors
A volume in the Haney Foundation Series
View table of contents and excerpt

"Published in 1990, Roger Sanjek's landmark edited volume Fieldnotes built on debates associated with Writing Culture and other works of the time, exploring the often unacknowledged but pivotal role of fieldnotes in ethnographic research. eFieldnotes, coedited by Sanjek with Susan Tratner, builds on that legacy with a new set of landmark essays on fieldnotes in the digital age . . . [that] push us to rethink the relationship between the empirical, methodological, and theoretical in ethnographic inquiry—in a context when the digital age threatens the methods and time frames of ethnography, yet simultaneously offers new opportunities for relevance and insight."—Journal of Anthropological Research

"The 15 articles offer richly nuanced readings of the changing nature of fieldwork and the variety of notes that arise from digital sources . . . A welcome addition to undergraduate and graduate courses on fieldwork methods . . . Highly recommended."—Choice

"From a well-argued exploration of historical continuities between practices and premises in the earlier world of fieldnotes and those characteristic of the current digital terrain, to a sophisticated, complex, and candid discussion of ethics in the broadest sense, eFieldnotes is an extraordinarily interesting and worthy successor to the classic Fieldnotes, and a lively set of provocations on its own."—Donald Brenneis, University of California, Santa Cruz

In this volume, sixteen distinguished scholars address the impact of digital technologies on how anthropologists do fieldwork and on what they study. With nearly three billion Internet users and more than four and a half billion mobile phone owners today, and with an ever-growing array of electronic devices and information sources, ethnographers confront a vastly different world from just decades ago, when fieldnotes produced by hand and typewriter were the professional norm.

Reflecting on fieldwork experiences both off- and online, the contributors survey changes and continuities since the classic volume Fieldnotes: The Makings of Anthropology, edited by Roger Sanjek, was published in 1990. They also confront ethical issues in online fieldwork, the strictures of institutional review boards affecting contemporary research, new forms of digital data and mediated collaboration, shifting boundaries between home and field, and practical and moral aspects of fieldnote recording, curating, sharing, and archiving.

The essays draw upon fieldwork in locales ranging from Japan, Liberia, Germany, India, Jamaica, Zambia, to Iraqi Kurdistan, and with diaspora groups of Brazilians in Belgium and Indonesians of Hadhrami Arab descent. In the United States, fieldwork populations include urban mothers of toddlers and young children, teen tech users, Bitcoin traders, World of Warcraft gamers, online texters and bloggers, and anthropologists themselves.

With growing interest in both traditional and digital ethnographic methods, scholars and students in anthropology and sociology, as well as in computer and information sciences, linguistics, social work, communications, media studies, design, management, and policy fields, will find much of value in this engaging and accessibly written volume.

Contributors: Jenna Burrell, Lisa Cliggett, Heather A. Horst, Jean E. Jackson, Graham M. Jones, William W. Kelly, Diane E. King, Jordan Kraemer, Rena Lederman, Mary H. Moran, Bonnie A. Nardi, Roger Sanjek, Bambi B. Schieffelin, Mieke Schrooten, Martin Slama, Susan W. Tratner.

Roger Sanjek taught anthropology at Queens College, CUNY, from 1972 to 2009. He is the editor of Fieldnotes: The Makings of Anthropology.

Susan W. Tratner is Associate Professor at SUNY Empire State College.

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