Little Dramas Everywhere: Using Ethnography to Anticipate the Future
J.A. ENGLISH-LUECK San Jose State University SAM LADNER Workday, Inc. JAMIE SHERMAN Netflix Inc. In this article, the chairs of EPIC2021 reflect on the idea of Anticipation, and what ethnography reveals to us that may not be readily apparent through other means. Looking backward at the year of planning a conference that was to be focused on the future, the authors describe various revelations that unfolded and revealed themselves over the course of time. They raise questions of method, of epistemological position, and ethical responsibility. The authors conclude that anticipation is very much an ethnographic activity, one in which we can ask difficult questions about power and practice. Article citation: 2021 EPIC Proceedings pp 7–14, ISSN 1559-8918, https://www.epicpeople.org/epic...
Toxicity v. toxicity: How Ethnography Can Inform Scalable Technical Solutions
JAMIE SHERMAN Intel Corporation ANNE MCCLARD McClard LLC While a number of scholars have studied online communities, research on games has been mostly focused on the business, experience, and content of gameplay. Interactions between players within games has received less attention, and toxic behavior is a newer area of investigation in academia. Inquiry into toxicity in gaming is part of a larger body of literature and public interest emerging around disruptive and malicious social interactions online, cyberbullying, child-grooming, and extremist recruiting. Through our research we reaffirmed that toxicity in gaming is a problem at a global scale, but we also discovered that on a micro scale, what behavior gamers perceive as toxic, or how toxicity is enacted in gaming is different depending on cultural context amongst other things. The generalized problem at scale, and its particular manifestations on the micro level raise philosophical and technology design questions, which we address through examples from our own research...
Creating a Creators’ Market: How Ethnography Gave Intel a New Perspective On Digital Content Creators
KEN ANDERSON Intel Corporation SUSAN FAULKNER Intel Corporation LISA KLEINMAN LogMeIn, Inc. JAMIE SHERMAN Intel Corporation Download PDF This case demonstrates how ongoing ethnographic research from within a corporation led to the re-segmentation of a market. The first part of the case focuses on how a team of social science researchers at a major technology company, Intel, drew on past research studies to develop a point-of-view on the increasing importance of content creation across a range of populations that challenged the findings of a quantitative market sizing study. Drawing on earlier qualitative work, the team was able to successfully argue for the value of ethnographic research to augment these findings and to show how research participants’ orientations toward technology constituted a more significant, and more actionable way of segmenting this new market than professional status, the differentiator used in the quantitative study. The second half of the case highlights the process of driving business change...
How Theory Matters: Benjamin, Foucault, and Quantified Self—Oh My!
by JAMIE SHERMAN, Intel Corporation For many anthropologists and ethnographers—and particularly those of us based in the US, where the self and its adherent freedoms and choices have long been a core cultural construct—the self is frequently at the center of our studies. Indeed we are often in a privileged position from which to critique and dismantle notions of self that are too easy, too pat, too unified. But increasing penetration of data into the domain of the “personal” and to the management and care of the self suggest that something is afoot in how the self is understood, experienced, and practiced more broadly. As an anthropologist working for a technology company, understanding this shift becomes important as we design for a world in which data plays new roles and gains different valences than it once had. While the future remains an open question, social science theory helps ground present uncertainties in historical trajectories and suggests key directions for research and design that intersect these changes. Just...