rural

Outside the Bubble: How a Coastal Technology Company Built Empathy for Its Small Business Owner Customers in America’s Heartland

KATHERINE LEE Square, Inc. This case examines an effort by San Francisco-based Square to gain a better understanding of its customers who reside outside of major metropolitan areas. The first part of the case provides detail on research: a mobile ethnography study of small business owners conducted over a two-week period at the end of 2016 followed by in-person interviews of a select group of participants. The second half offers a discussion of the research findings, including the attributes and perspectives shared by small business owners. The research and analysis suggest that the sense of community in small towns colors every facet of small business, from the deep connections that proprietors feel with their customers, other business owners, and their community as a whole. The commercial and social aspects of businesses in small towns can't be separated. Often, businesses act as a force that helps keep the community viable. Moreover, the needs of small business owners in the heartland differs from their counterparts in larger...

A Prairie Home Revival

BRIANNA FARBER University of South Carolina Download PDF PechaKucha—This presentation explores the struggle of natural resource conservation within Iowa industrial agriculture through the issue of water quality. I discuss the politics of scientific information, specifically how different powerful players use science to achieve their goals. Science can both reveal and obscure the history of Iowa’s landscape, and history holds the key to understanding water quality problems. Finally, I describe what people are trying to do to bring industrial agriculture and prairie together to create a better system. Keywords: Natural resource management, political ecology, agriculture Brianna Farber is a doctoral candidate at the University of South Carolina finishing 14 months of fieldwork in Iowa. Her research interests include human-environment interactions, as well as the role of social science in collaborating with and informing natural science and technology. 2016 Ethnographic Praxis in Industry Conference Proceedings, p. 539, ISSN 1559-8918, https://www.epicpeople.org...

Redefining the Ivorian Smallholder Cocoa Farmer’s Role in Qualitative Research: From Passive Contributions to Passionate Participation

HANNAH PICK CALDERÓNInsitum LANDRY NIAVA Insitum Provider and researchers from the University of Cocody in Abidjan were faced with the challenge of adapting a user-centered approach to qualitative research endeavors in Côte d’Ivoire. Our cross-cultural team with expertise from multiple disciplines developed a novel approach for the cocoa sector. In observations, interviews, and co-creation groups with cocoa farmers, we explored concepts of success, productivity, and profitability both orally and visually. The resulting quality and level of farmer participation was enhanced, therefore improving research results....

‘Global Events Local Impacts’: India’s Rural Emerging Markets

NIMMI RANGASWAMY and KENTARO TOYAMA The paper attempts to analyse rapidly changing rural Indian socio-economic landscapes from a recent empirical study of rural PC kiosks. Rural contexts in India are essentially composite and digitally immature communication ecologies. Some of the questions we wanted to answer were as follows: How do computing technologies find their way into a rural community? Who are the people driving this technology? How technology is being received by the community? Breaking away from a committed long-term participatory ethnography in a bounded field, we consider an array of wider contexts and a repertoire of methods available for qualitative research to study societies in transition....

The “Consumption Junction” of ICT in Emerging Markets: An Ethnography of Middlemen

ELISA OREGLIA and KATHI KITNER In rural China and India, a fragmented commercial distribution system and the lack of online shopping can significantly limit the range of consumer choice. In this paper, we look at the role that mobile phone shopkeepers—the middlemen—play in influencing what users can and will buy, but also in training them in using and understanding technology....

Limitations of Online Medical Care: Interpersonal Resistance and Cultural Hurdles in the Face of Technological Advances

PENSRI HO In 2009, a health care service organization in Hawaii launched a online medical consultation program intent to serve the needs of clients in rural Oahu and the neighboring islands, which faced increasing shortages of primary care clinicians. Patients could go online for medical advice from on-call Hawaii based clinicians. However, physicians and statewide medical agencies were critical of the program due to ethical concerns, medical licensure and insurance coverage, and deviation from socio-cultural practices specific to Hawaii. This empirical paper traces and examines the legal and medical ethics of telemedicine in the face of Hawaii's socio-cultural orthodoxy of interpersonal engagement and obligation called the ohana (Native Hawaiian for “family”), and the implications for telemedicine as a medical care resource for the state and nationally....

Maru: An ethnographic approach to revive local communities

FUMIKO ICHIKAWA and HIROSHI TAMURA How would Japan's rural communities renew oneself when the nation's economy no longer holds the absolute financial and technological powers in the global sphere? Through our post-3.11 recovery effort in local communities of Kesennuma, Japan, we discuss - a gap between the perceptions of Japan's rise from the 1950s and how in fact rural economies, such as the one in Kesennuma, have lost independency through its process. This paper seeks to capture the power of Maru, an inter-local activity, seeking an alternative to the conventional model of development based on the economy of capitalism, and how ethnography and design would play a central role in the success of community revival....

Putting Mobility on the Map: Researching Journeys and the Research Journey

SIMON ROBERTS This paper, based on a fieldwork conducted with community transport projects in rural Ireland, examines the place of mobility in the lives of older people. It uses the idea of journey to explore what mobility means to older people, what the research made visible to a diverse range of project stakeholders and to reflect on the nature of ethnographic projects in industry settings. For passengers, the journeying is often as important as the destination – travelling creates visibility of countryside, community and communion with others. For project stakeholders, the research encouraged a view of mobility that transcends travel because it highlighted the world beyond the bus. For researchers, the project created challenges to the dominant view of technology for ageing-in-place within their own organization. Finally, reflections are made on industry ethnography as a journey with often unknown destinations....