Stop. Collaborate and Listen

Ethnography is the scientific description of peoples cultures and their customs, habits and mutual differences. And as Luke Lassiter suggests ethnography is by definition collaborative. Although in he discusses two different forms of ethnography; reciprocative and collaborative. This weeks main focus in the lecture was on collaborative ethnography.

Reciprocation Ethnography entails an act of return, a giving back for something received. In the ethnographic process, this sets up a model of exchange where one thing granted yields an appropriate reciprocal response.

Collaborative Ethnography is an approach to ethnography that deliberately and explicitly emphasizes collaboration at every point in the ethnographic process, without veiling it. Collaborative ethnography, then, is both a theoretical and a methodological approach for doing and writing ethnography. The most advantageous point to collaborative ethnography would be the creation of a better understanding of peoples’ cultures.

An example of collaborative ethnography is reflecting, sharing, discussing and getting a better understanding of the culture of others by reading the blog posts of our peers from last weeks task about how television media was watched and consumed in the homes of a member of their family. Whether it be the stories of their parents, grandparents, aunts or uncles any linkage between qualitative research to paint a larger portrait of a particular culture or idea is all collaborative ethnography.

My blog for last week was centred on the consumption of television by my mother and her family when we was a child and after reading some of the other posts by people it was clear that things I discussed with my mother were also similar to some of the things others discussed with their chosen interviewee. Even from my own experiences watching television with my family, I have experienced all these similar feelings of nostalgia and connection to my family through us watching television together. Realising these similarities by reading these similar stories is also collaborative ethnography.

All this collaborative ethnography made it very clear that television played a much larger role in homes than just another piece of entertainment technology. The television played a role of a physical space where families bonded and enjoyed each others company. By personally participating in some collaborative ethnography is has really helped me have a deeper understanding of the concept of collaborative ethnography and also understand peoples feelings and attitudes about television in the past.

University of Chicago, 2005, An excerpt from The Chicago Guide to Collaborative Ethnography, University of Chicago, viewed 11 August,<>


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