bias

The Ballast in Anthropology’s Ship: How a Universal Psychological Structure Can Provide Stability and Flexibility in Anthropological Field Work

BEN DOEPKE IX After a year of new social and cultural constraints, ethnographic approaches have had to quickly evolve. This is the story of how one research method, which enlists the help of close personal contacts around a participating respondent to gather interviews, artifacts, and locations, spotlighted the need for deploying a universal psychological structure (UPS). Even from emic perspectives, the influence of personal bias is uncontested, but how do we account for it? A UPS helps, but how can a structure allow lived experience to flow through it while not altering the experience itself? We can anticipate that parameters around our discipline will continue to shift, challenging some of its most revered principles. How will the ethnographer adapt? In this presentation, we’ll look at the aspects of the human experience that we expect to change the least, and the structure we now have reason to believe will help the most. We’ll offer clear evidence for the inclusive functionality of the UPS, and directional solutions...

In Defense of Personal Bias in Ethnographic Research

by ANNA ZAVYALOVA, Stripe Partners Past midnight, I’m shivering outside a pub in Shoreditch, the rain beginning to drizzle ever so viciously. It has been fifteen minutes since I left my friends and ordered an UberPool home. As I watch yet another cab drive by, I think about the millions of factors that make one choose how to get around a city. I think about comfort, cost and convenience, space, speed and safety. Earlier this year I was involved in a study of pooled mobility in the UK, India and Brazil, where we tried to make sense of car sharing ‘grammar’ across these dramatically different cultural landscapes. The project, which came to an end in March, and the subsequent paper I wrote for EPIC a few months later, should feel like a closed chapter. Yet as I traverse cities, home and abroad, during the day and late at night, I never stop noting, observing, collecting data – often without realising I’m doing it. Even after a night out, I am still an ethnographer, fascinated by how people and vehicles, cultural values...