BCM I’m back with my brand new connection,
Something about media? Highly likely,
Flow like… well, not really flowing, is it?
I solemnly swear to not begin a blog post with rap lyrics ever again. Or, at least not in the near future. Let’s get into it.
Ethnogra-who? I’ll give you a run-down. The Oxford Dictionary defines ethnography as ‘the scientific description of peoples and cultures with their customs, habits, and mutual differences’ (Oxford, 2017). If we extend this further to broaden understanding beyond a definition, it encompasses the observation and research that allows one to gain insights on cultures or communities that may otherwise go undiscovered, if limited to traditional primary quantitative and qualitative research methods.
How does this fit into the studies of media audiences, and is there a means whereby we can collaborate to collectively conduct ethnography? This topic was related back to a case study of Australian television networks conducting (and somewhat failing) ethnographic research in BCM241: Media, Audience, Place, however I have since fallen upon another means by which media can actually allow for collaborative ethnographic study.
While ethnography conducted by television networks is often clunky and is heavily relied upon for capitalistic purposes, video ethnography has an up and coming presence that is in high demand by marketers, researchers and oddly enough, audiences. ‘Open-ended, discovery-oriented… guided by enquiry’ (Nick Leon, 2014) is is a medium that ‘demonstrates context of people’s lives as they move through the different environments they encounter’ as UK Researcher Nick Leon describes. Video ethnography converts the practice into a collective and collaborative process, whereby many ethnographic films are quite moving and revealing.
Take for example, this ethnographic film that documents many behaviours and relationships that would otherwise go amiss in a simple survey on Anti-Consumption alternatives. It follows the story of Skoros; a store in Greece that is fighting over-consumption. Sydney video ethnographer Nick Agafonoff describes his process as a ‘refreshing’ when compared to traditional research methods, highlighting its collaborative nature: “I have had so many people burst into tears and tell me incredibly intimate details of their lives…” If interpreted in a sense that could analyse media audiences, video ethnography not only encapsulates the medium itself but would allow for a collaborative process, an alternative for media researchers to most-definitely consider.
Word to your mother,
- Leon, N. (2014). Making it Matter: Using Video Ethnography.
- Skoros: Anti-Consumption in Crisis. (2015). Directed by A. Chatzidakis and P. Maclaran. Greece: Centre for Research Into Sustainability.
- Shanahan, B. (2011). Research Gets Deep. The Australian. [online] Available at: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/media/research-gets-deep/news-story/10b31def5aee6ae55b242a89f23d0aaa