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Experimental Collaborations: Ethnography through Fieldwork Devices

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Volume 34

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Experimental Collaborations

Ethnography through Fieldwork Devices

Edited by Adolfo Estalella and Tomás Sánchez Criado
Foreword by George E. Marcus
Afterword by Sarah Pink

236 pages, 18 illus., bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-78533-853-3 $120.00/£89.00 Hb Published (April 2018)

eISBN 978-1-78533-854-0 eBook

Hb   Buy the eBook! $29.95 Request a Review or Examination Copy (in Digital Format) Recommend to your Library Available in GOBI®


“As a pedagogical text, this volume will be useful to graduate students in anthropology, particularly for methods classes, and other disciplines that employ ethnography. On the whole, the collection insightfully and productively furthers the notion of what collaboration can be, and how it is practiced, in fieldwork.” • Anthropos

“Every tradition (re)invents itself. What is more, it’s impossible to keep tradition without reimagining and reinventing it constantly. This book is an invitation to rethink our methodological repertoires, an exercise in ethnographic (re)imagination. An inventory but not a recipe book; a contemporary inventory of the (multiple and complex) ways in which anthropology relates to the production of knowledge….At a time when politics turns into experimentation, in this work experimentation is a political moment, as politics not only traverses militant anthropology but also examines the ways we think, feel, share, and (co-) produce knowledge.” • Disparidades: Revista de antropología

“This volume… represents a very serious, worthwhile, and successful effort to bring together new works on ethnographic field methods… It will be of relevance to all practicing anthropologists, regardless of their subdiscipline, area of geographical interest, or current career position.” • David O’Kane, Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology, Halle/Saale, Germany

Experimental Collaborations provides fascinating insights into some of the muddiest disciplines premised on engaged ‘fieldwork’. The book proposes an interesting and useful theoretical framework to explicate the contemporary challenges facing ‘fieldworkers’ of various kinds.” • Matan Shapiro, Ben Gurion University of the Negev


In the accounts compiled in this book, ethnography occurs through processes of material and social interventions that turn the field into a site for epistemic collaboration. Through creative interventions that unfold what we term as “fieldwork devices”—such as coproduced books, the circulation of repurposed data, co-organized events, authorization protocols, relational frictions, and social rhythms—anthropologists engage with their counterparts in the field in the construction of joint anthropological problematizations. In these situations, the traditional tropes of the fieldwork encounter (i.e. immersion and distance) give way to a narrative of intervention, where the aesthetics of collaboration in the production of knowledge substitutes or intermingles with participant observation. Building on this, the book proposes the concept of “experimental collaborations” to describe and conceptualize this distinctive ethnographic modality.

Adolfo Estalella is an anthropologist affiliated to the Spanish Research Council (CSIC) in Madrid. His research focuses on the emergence of epistemic cultures in the city.

Tomás Sánchez Criado, Senior Researcher at the Munich Center for Technology in Society, TU Munich, is a social anthropologist with specialization in STS, working on the material politics of personal and urban care infrastructures.

Subject: General Anthropology Theory & Methodology in Anthropology


List of Illustrations

Foreword: Collaboration Mode 3: A Found Condition of Anthropological Field Research Today… and What Might Be Made of It
George E. Marcus

Introduction: Experimental Collaborations
Tomás Sánchez Criado and Adolfo Estalella

Chapter 1. Experimenting with Data: ‘Collaboration’ as Method and Practice in an Interdisciplinary Public Health Project
Emma Garnett

Chapter 2. The ‘Research Traineeship’: The Ups and Downs of Para-siting Ethnography
Maria Schiller

Chapter 3. Finding One’s Rhythm: A ‘Tour de Force’ of Fieldwork on the Road with a Band
Anna Lisa Ramella

Chapter 4. Idiotic Encounters: Experimenting with Collaborations Between Ethnography and Design
Andrea Gaspar

Chapter 5. Fieldwork as Interface: Digital Technologies, Moral Worlds and Zones of Encounter
Karen Waltorp

Chapter 6. Thrown into Collaboration: An Ethnography of Transcript Authorization
Alexandra Kasatkina, Zinaida Vasilyeva, and Roman Khandozhko

Chapter 7. A Cultural Cyclotron: Ethnography, Art Experiments, and a Challenge of Moving Towards the Collaborative in Rural Poland
Tomasz Rakowski

Chapter 8. Making Fieldwork Public: Repurposing Ethnography as a Hosting Platform in Hackney Wick, London
Isaac Marrero-Guillamón

Afterword: Refiguring Collaboration and Experimentation
Sarah Pink


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