Contributed Articles

Scaling through Meaning to Action: What the Australian Bushfires Taught Me about Ethnography

CHARLIE COCHRANE Jump the Fence PechaKucha Presentation—This PechaKucha gives a personal perspective on the ethical dilemmas around the impact of an individual's actions, and the meaning of an ethnographer's projects in the context of the scale where these play out. The story begins with the spectacle of the 2020 Australian bushfires and reflects on their enormous scale. Within this context what is the meaning of individual actions to limit global warming? The story shifts to the work context and explores the dichotomy of human impacts vs. the marketing metrics that typically measure success. Using an example of a research project with an overtly purposeful aim we explore the tension between ethnography as a tool for understanding the problem and the question of whether the scaled result truly addresses the end-users’ problem. Returning to the bushfires, we again look at the scaled government response and the question of how successfully this met the needs of those impacted. We explore the...