Contributed Articles

Empowering Communities: Future-Making through Citizen Ethnography

SUMANT BADAMI Habitus/Macquarie University, Department of Anthropology SOPHIE GOODMAN Sophie Goodman Research This paper proposes a way to harness the power and benefits of community-led future change through the process of “citizen ethnography”. Just as “citizen science” has become a potent method for non-scientists to collect and contribute to scientific knowledge and outcomes, citizen ethnography is where non-ethnographers are trained in the tools and techniques of ethnography to research social phenomena to understand, recommend and lead their own change initiatives. Citizen ethnography essentially flips the model of a single or small team of ethnographers and consultants working with a community, to one where groups of community members research their own challenges in order to identify their own needs, preferred futures and mechanisms for change. Importantly, this approach requires a significant ‘stepping away’ of the ethnographer as the research expert and move towards a role of skill-builder, coach and...