Quote: Follow the Thing versus Follow the People

“In terms of internet research, multi-sited ethnography – in particular Marcus’s tracking strategy of “following the thing,” can provide a methodological approach that accounts for the role of material objects (technologies, artifacts, media) in describing social processes that are constituted in and articulated through sociotechnical practices. Conventionally, ethnographic research has concentrated primarily on the role of human actors in meaning-making processes. While documents and artifacts have certainly been part of ethnographic projects, those objects have often been examined as the product, and not a co-producer of, culture. The result is that technology often plays a limited role in understanding social practices, a point Bruno Latour makes arguing that technical objects are the “missing masses” in social science (1992).”

Walker, Dana M. (2010) The Location of Digital Ethnography, Cosmopolitan Civil Societies: An Interdisciplinary Journal

reblogged from modernandmaterialthings

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Categories: Quotes

Author:tricia wang

I research how technology makes us human. As a cultural sociologist, I use a range of ethnographic methods to create socially relevant insights about how people use digital tools in their day to day lives. I write about digital culture at Culturalbyt.es, China tech at BytesofChina.com, and cities at DigitalUrbanis.ms. Follow me on twitter @triciawang.

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