Methods for Media Ethnography – Practical Research/ Research Practice in Media Anthropology and Ethnographic Writing (Ethnographic Methods in a Selected Research Field)
Instructor: Dr. Markus Schleiter
Students of this course develop their skills of designing and conducting an own empirical research project. Individually or in small teams, students work on the topic of audio-visual media. Thus, the subject of the research project is open to a variety of topics, e.g. exploring family series watching of Tatort in Germany, Bollywood fan culture and dances, film practices among teens/youth in relation to websites like Tic Toc or YouTube, everyday discussions on TV news, professional film productions or .... Students will develop their empirical research project from the first steps onward: forming a research question, using methods in the ‘field’ and ultimately producing an ethnographic essay, which will be peer-evaluated in class.
In preparation of their research project, students will evaluate anthropological research methods. Additionally, they learn about methods of doing remote ethnography during the current pandemic situation as well as about the limits of such methods. Films are at the research focus, but may also be used as research tools, for example in elicitation interviews or research-oriented ethnographic film production. Furthermore, qualitative methods to analyse the narratives, content, or stylistic features of films will be acquired.
The empirical focus of media anthropology explores what people – as consumers and producers – do with media. Studying audio-visual media enables to address questions, such as how film is part of society and everyday life; rather than focusing exclusively on film content. Media anthropologists investigate on how media becomes meaningful to people, and in which ways the audience as well as film producers reflect and articulate ideas of culture with reference to media.
The practical projects will be accompanied by reading exemplary media ethnographies, and of key texts on anthropological research methods, methods of media anthropology, and ethnographic writing. Students have the chance to produce audio-visual media as part of their projects.
- Original empirical research project (individually or in groups)
- Zoom presentation of a research question (10 min.) and the results of the research conducted (15 min.) (individually or in groups)
- Ethnographic essay presenting the research results (4 pages) or audio-visual production and self-reflective essay (2 pages) (individually or in groups)
- Submission of ten e-learning assignment (for example answering question on the readings, research notes, response essays, interview questions / varies from ½ page to two pages each)
- Participation in weekly zoom sessions (offline participation may be possible if compliant with official COVID-19 regulations, please contact the lecturer on this)
- Close reading of the key text each week
Agar, Michael H. 2008. The Professional Stranger: An Informal Introduction to Ethnography: Second Edition. Bingley, UK: Emerald.
Altheide, David L., Schneider, Christopher J. 2013. Qualitative Media Analysis. Delhi: Sage.
Askew, Kelly and Richard R. Wilk (ed.) 2002. The Anthropology of Media: A Reader. Malden: Blackwell Publishing.
de Maaker, Erik 2000. Integrating Ethnographic Research and Filmmaking: Video Elicitation for a Performance Oriented Analysis of the Teyyam Ritual. Visual Anthropology 13 (2): 185-197.
Ginsburg, Faye D.; Lila Abu-Lughod and Brian Larkin (ed.) 2002. Media Worlds: Anthropology on New Terrain. Berkeley: University of California Press.
Marcus, George E. 1995. Ethnography in/of the World System: The Emergence of Multi-Sited Ethnography. Annual Review of Anthropology 24: 95-117.
Pandian, Anand and Stuart McLean (ed.) 2017. Crumpled Paper Boat: Experiments in Ethnographic Writing. Durham & London: Duke University Press.
Pink, Sarah 2007. Doing Visual Ethnography: Images, Media and Representation in Research. London: Sage Publication.
Schleiter; Markus 2014. VideoCD Crossovers: Cultural Practice, Ideas of Belonging and Santali Popular Films. Asian Ethnology 73 (1-2): 181-200.
Van Maanen, John 2011. Tales of the field: On Writing Ethnography: Second Edition. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.