Ethnographer Diasporas and Emergent Communities of Practice: The Place for a 21st Century Ethics in Business Ethnography Today

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Do no harm; communicate and collaborate; keep learning, keep teaching; instigate meaningful change; make theory action.
—Designers Accord code of conduct (

Every profession bears the responsibility to understand the circumstance which enables its existence.
—Robert Gutman1

For an exile, habits of life, expression or activity in the new environment inevitably occur against the memory of these things in another environment. Thus both the new and the old environments are vivid, actual, occurring together contrapuntally. There is a unique pleasure in this sort of apprehension.
—Edward Said, Reflections on Exile (1984)


What kind of times are these we live and work in? Last October, many of us left the EPIC2008 meetings with a drive to apply “sustainability” thinking to our research and design. It is no coincidence that those meetings were hosted in Copenhagen, a city in a region where design is an unabashed element of all public decision making and environmental management. Here sustainability and fairness have long been key criteria of success in design. But a number of those who had planned to attend were in the end unable to, as employers faced budget crises of all sorts given a few years’ worth of...

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