Mapping Superpositionality in Global Ethnography

TitleMapping Superpositionality in Global Ethnography
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2018
AuthorsWilliams, LDA
JournalScience, Technology & Human Values
Publication Languageeng
ISSN Number01622439
AbstractScience studies scholars often study up to high-tech elites who produce and design scientific knowledge and technology. Methodological tension begins when you pair a desire to study down to less economically developed countries, with the desire to study up to high-tech elites within them. This becomes further complicated when the ethnographer and his/her informants share professional interests and credentials. In these situations, the researcher has high status because of geopolitical privilege. However, the researcher is neither a high-tech elite nor a local cultural elite. How might the ethnographer successfully access and navigate field sites imbued with these unseen power differentials? There are currently no visual mapping tools to enhance the process of reflexivity by feminist ethnographers, as they consider their globally embedded multiple, hierarchical, and situated positionality. This reflection methodology piece provides a tool to consider this phenomenon, as it exists across the Global North/South divide of power. Such a tool would be useful to northern ethnographers to better strategize ethics and access while avoiding complicity with structures of inequality and empowering their southern interlocutors.