Presentation on theme: "Ethnography & Spatial Analysis Genre Features and Successful Moves."— Presentation transcript:
Ethnography & Spatial Analysis Genre Features and Successful Moves
Ethnography “ Ethnography (from Greek ἔ θνος ethnos = folk/people and γράφω, grapho = to write) is a qualitative research design aimed at exploring cultural phenomena. The resulting field study or a case report reflects the knowledge and the system of meanings in the lives of a cultural group. An ethnography is a means to represent graphically and in writing, the nature of a people.” –from good ol’ Wikipedia
Method First and foremost, you have to experience, hangout, be amongst the people you are studying. There is no substitute for this. Listen closely, have conversations, take notes, and keep key questions in mind What unites these people as a group or community? What are their customs and ways of being? How does context (historical, social, cultural, and spatial) affect their group? What can I learn from them?
Your Role You are an ACTIVE participant (not true in some genres of ethnography. You should not attempt to change the group. If you have judgments, keep them to yourselves. Do not try to change anyone’s mind or behavior. You are there to learn, participate, and see things as they are.
The visit(s) Secure permission to be there (if necessary) Let the people know what you’re doing Go in an analytical mindset (you’re not just hanging out) Take notes Be respectful (duh)
The purposes(s) Reveal something about the group/culture/space Reveal something about yourself This means that before you go, you should take some time honestly reflecting upon your preconceived notions, expectations, and stereotypes The final report should reflect an intersection of these two purposes
Language What kinds of language is used (formal, informal, technical, inside references, etc.) Who talks? Who talks to who? Are there rules (set or informal) about who can talk to who, when, and how? If people don’t talk there- why? What is the nature/purpose/effect of the silence? As an “outsider” how did this effect how you talked or were responded to?
Activity Why and how do people participate in activities in this place? Is there a hierarchy or chain-of-command in activity? Can everyone participate (and in the same way)? Is the activity symbolic of other things (are there symbolic objects involved) To what extent did you participate in the common activity(s)?
Historical Contexts Is there a larger historical context to the place? How does that history affect what goes on there? Are the people there connected by history in some way? How does this play out in their language and interactions? Is there history you need to know to fully appreciate or participate in the place? How did it feel not to have it.
Spatial analysis Successful spatial analysis begins with this benefit-of- the-doubt (and often skeptical) assumption. Space, like good writing, is not designed by accident. The designers usually want to encourage (or discourage) certain types of activities and behaviors Ask yourself: In what ways is this space encouraging me to act, behave, and be?
Factors Walls, partitions, & paths (access) Bookstore Color choices, lighting, aesthetics bar Placement of and inclusion of objects bathroom/restaurant Creation of focal points Classroom/supermarket
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