LIUBAVA SHATOKHINA

Contributed Articles

The Elephant in the Room: A Lesson from the Field

LIUBAVA SHATOKHINA Gemic Download PDF PechaKucha—We sometimes use ethnographic tools and methods with less reflexivity than they deserve. When you start to look at the constellation of objects in the spaces people inhabit, the traces of their values and practices can be seen everywhere. After all, the creation of an individual’s life and culture is an effort to make a cosmos out of chaos. People do it all the time by rearranging objects, practices and concepts. Our job as anthropologists/consultants is to get to the unspoken rules and structure of people’s everyday by being attentive to the cosmos people assemble materially and conceptually. However, we sometimes rely too much on spoken language. In most cases it applies to the use of interviews as our major data sources when we forget to use other opportunities to enrich our knowledge that ethnographic encounters can provide. Objects and their constellations leave powerful traces of culture, and they can often tell us more than people are able to articulate. Not because people...

Technological Raison D’être: Moving Beyond the Cynical Present

by LIUBAVA SHATOKHINA, Consultant, Gemic Most of the people I know constantly complain about the role and use of digital technology in their lives. Too much time on Facebook, always distracted by emails, annoying notifications and all the ‘digital rubbish’ their smartphones and computers bring into their lives. Only a couple of years before, most of them were looking forward to the new iPhone releases, while today they are more and more skeptical about what Apple and the like are going to present next. The overall assumption that technology is here to make our lives better is now met with a growing skepticism, even resentment. The reason is twofold: first, constantly growing technological pollution that causes fatigue and enforces many unwanted behaviors, and second, the inability of digital technology to resonate with current values people share. Move from user-centricity to human-centricity The digital technology we currently have is born within a ‘design for addiction’ paradigm1, where the success of tech innovation...