PechaKucha Presentation—When a man rang our doorbell late at night and claimed that his teenage daughter was in our house, but she wasn't, my husband and I considered getting a doorbell cam. With camera surveillance and facial recognition becoming more commonplace, we wanted a privileged view of our surroundings, and a sense of control over what was happening on our doorstep. But, while we wanted the doorbell cam to see our late-night visitor if he ever came back, we knew it would also see us coming and going, and living our lives. We put the thought of a camera aside, but a few weeks later another uninvited guest knocked on our door. The coronavirus arrived in the US with a vengeance, and suddenly everybody we saw was a possible carrier of contagion. My husband and I, the people who had rejected a little doorbell cam as being too invasive of our privacy, started daydreaming about living in a country like Korea where our privacy and independence would be tested, but where our interdependence...
An EPIC Talk with RITA DENNY, SUSAN FAULKNER, JULIA KATHERINE HAINES & LEE RYAN
In our goal to understand meanings and practices, logics and relationships, cultural and social phenomena, our ethnographic practice hinges on ‘being there.’ Now, the coronavirus pandemic has radically restricted our ability to share physical space with research participants, stakeholders, clients, and colleagues. As we adopt new tools and strategies for remote and virtual research, it's crucial to ask, What exactly does 'being there' mean?
Ethnographers have a wealth of concepts and methods that will help us shift our practices in uncertain times. When we forego assumptions about which people and spaces are most authentic or 'real', we can position ourselves and our research participants in multidimensional ways that enrich our insights and impacts.
This EPIC Talk has two parts:
May 4: Panel Discussion
Ethnographers with decades of experience in remote research will share frameworks for ‘being there’, consider...
This paper reports on the use and perceptions of deployed A.I. and recognition social-material assemblages in China and the USA. A kaleidoscope of “boutique” instantiations is presented to show how meanings are emerging around A.I. and recognition. A model is presented to highlight that not all recognitions are the same. We conclude by noting A.I. and recognition systems challenge current practices for the EPIC community and the field of anthropology....
When our broadband connectivity at home stops working, it’s a crisis. When it does work it is magic, an invisible miracle most of us don’t understand. Our evidence for whether it is working great or barely working at all, is scant, murky and elusive. The telecommunications industry language used to measure and characterize connectivity is obtuse. Data transfer rates, data storage rates, and wireless frequency rates, all sound similar and make no sense to most people. So, what’s wrong with that? Who cares how many megabits per second download speed I’m getting? As long as I can stream The Crown, what difference does it make? That’s what I thought when I began doing research about people’s relationships with connectivity, and then I met people who changed my point of view. Connectivity is fundamental to how we experience the world and to our sense of well-being. We need ways to connect with our connectivity.
Susan Faulkner is a Senior Researcher at Intel Corporation...
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...
SUSAN FAULKNER and ANNE MCCLARD
Two ethnographers from different parts of the same technology company set out to explore the role of women and girls in the worldwide maker movement. We wanted to know who is currently participating in the maker phenomenon, how they became makers, what motivates them to continue making, what kinds of things they make, and what their hopes are for the future. Most importantly, we investigated why women are underrepresented in the realm of tech making with the explicit goal of being change agents and triggers of transformation both within our company and in the broader technology landscape....
SUSAN FAULKNER and JAY MELICAN
This paper reports early findings of an ethnographically-inspired research project focused on individuals who are actively engaged in the creation and online distribution of original media – on blogs, vlogs, and social networking sites – and on the collectives that form around “user-generated content.” In this paper, we profile a small number of creative individuals producing original content in four very different cultural contexts: a children’s book author in Los Angeles, a pair of video bloggers in New York, an ex-pat journalist and social commentator in Dubai, and a cosmetics expert sharing advice with an online community in Seoul, South Korea. We explore what motivates each “lead user” to create; we examine how they imagine themselves as authors and artists, and how they imagine (and interact with) their readers and viewers. In addition, we explain how the insights they provide into an emerging form of online authorship are relevant to Intel Corporation’s Digital Home Group....
JAY HASBROUCK and SUSAN FAULKNER
This paper explores how methods used to procure ethnographic visuals transition between different cultural histories and varying visual vocabularies. We use an instance during which we were detained (and the police summoned) after taking photos of an apartment building in Cairo to illustrate how these transitions can lead to unexpected and serious consequences with which ethnographers must grapple. We argue that considering factors such as geo-political context, notions of giving and receiving, boundaries between private and public, as well as a culture’s historical relationship with photographic and documentary processes, are all essential to developing a critical position on visual procurement in the field....
SUSAN FAULKNER and ALEXANDRA ZAFIROGLU
Participant-generated, self-made videos engender powerful, often highly emotional, reactions from viewers who experience a stronger connection and identification with participants and their experiences than we have ever achieved with researcher-shot footage. Reactions have ranged from shock, discomfort, and offers of Freudian psychological analyses to laughter, immediate recognition and discovery. Through several video examples from recent fieldwork we explore the reasons for this heightened reaction, and raise questions related to representation, authenticity, intimacy and the role of the ethnographer in the age of YouTube, social networking sites, and reality TV. What is the ethnographer’s role when participants share their lives in videos we request that are stylistically similar to online user-generated content? What is that ethnographer’s ‘Do’, and what role does she play in editing, framing and presenting these videos? How do participants conceptualize what they are creating?...