friction

EPIC2023—The Big Reveal!

abstract image; swirling magenta background with yellow sphere
 EPIC2023 chairs Marta Cuciurean-Zapan and Evan Hanover announce our next conference location and theme! Watch, read or listen—then get ready for our Call for Participation coming in January 2023...   Hello! We are Marta Cuciurean-Zapan, Director of Research and Insights at IDEO, and Evan Hanover, Director at Conifer Research. We are incredibly excited to invite everyone in the room today and online, EPIC members past, present, and future to… …Chicago, Illinois, for EPIC2023 next October! Chicago has a rich history shaping the theoretical and methodological foundations of American social science. Some of you may have made your way there to study at one of our colleges and universities. Or had foundational work experiences at firms that put social theory and an ethnographic approach at the forefront of their practice and positioning—such as eLab or Doblin, or the place where the two of us first met and collaborated, Conifer Research. Then there is the location of the actual conference, which will...

Doing Ethnography in AirSpace: The Promise and Danger of ‘Frictionless’ Global Research

photo of author doing field research in Shanghai, taking photographs, supported by a local translator
TOM HOY Stripe Partners ‘AirSpace’, according to Kyle Chayka, is the increasingly homogenized experience of the western(ized) business traveller, driven by major tech platforms (including Google, Airbnb and Uber.) As international travellers, ethnographers must account for the impact of AirSpace on their research practice. After delineating the concept of AirSpace the paper posits three dangers ethnographers must negotiate: (1) The cost of control: AirSpace offers researchers control, but can narrow the scope of research (2) The risk of superficiality: AirSpace provides shortcuts to cultural understanding, but can limit deeper comprehension (3) The assumption of equivalence: AirSpace provides shared reference points, but can create the illusion of equivelance with research subjects. By exploring these three dangers the paper invites readers to reflect on their own research practice and consider how to utilize the benefits of these platforms while mitigating the issues outlined....