The Ethnographic Machine: Experimenting with Context and Comparison in Strathernian Ethnography

TitleThe Ethnographic Machine: Experimenting with Context and Comparison in Strathernian Ethnography
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2014
AuthorsMorita, A
JournalScience, Technology & Human Values
Volume39
Issue2
Pagination214-235
Date PublishedMarch 1, 2014
Publication Languageeng
AbstractContext holds a significant place mediating the conceptual and the empirical in ethnography. This modality of knowledge has also become a significant part of science and technology studies since the rise of laboratory studies. However, conventional modes of contextualization that locate the object of study within a whole—such as within a society or culture—have become a target of suspicion and criticism since the 1980s. This led to the radical alteration of the contextualizing strategies of actor–network theory (ANT) and multisited ethnography. Anthropologist Marilyn Strathern is also responding to this crisis by renovating the practice of ethnography in a way significantly different from both strategies. Since contextualization occupies a significant place in the formation of ethnography as a representation of a larger “out there” reality, her alternative contextualization requires a new characterization of ethnography other than representation. This article tries to expound the complicated, and often perplexing, ethnography of Strathern by making an analogy with objects familiar to most science, technology, and society scholars, namely, machines. By doing so, this article argues that Strathern is opening up a new way of dealing with context that is radically different both from ANT and from multisited ethnography.
URLhttp://sth.sagepub.com/content/39/2/214.abstract
DOI10.1177/0162243913503189

Discipline: 

Publication: