Advancing the Value of Ethnography

What Will 4 People Think / Chaar Log Kya Kahenge


Cite this article:

2020 EPIC Proceedings p 264, ISSN 1559-8918,

PechaKucha Presentation—This paper raises the implications of simplifying algorithms for scale and uplifting content that is damaging for human evolution. Technology is powerful because of its scale and also disempowering for the same reason. Scale is in the variables and online media, in the zest of empowering women, is deciding our fate. I get it when the housewife looks to YouTube to cook a meal. However, I also see the heartbreak when what should be freeing is actually being used to throttle progress. When a girl from a small sub-segment of global population like Rajasthan, while wanting to feel empowered realises that she’s unable to measure up? Are we responsible for this? Are our “hashtags” and “likes” fuelling our continued repression?

As an ethnographer, I study media consumption to overcome barriers to participation in the online world, and as a gender trainer, I also create and use media content to overcome barriers in the real world. I find myself continually curious about what we learn and how we replicate. Hence I’m concerned that the models we have for scale aren’t healthy especially for girls and women. Can we consider a shift from quantity to quality of scale – from how many to how? Can we find a path that broadens the evaluation for scale? What might be the indicators for scale that progress society?

Smriti Kaul has a Masters Degree in Law with a specialisation in Human Rights. Her passion for the subject led her to social and behaviour change communication research, content development, impact evaluation and gender training. She has an experience of 10 years in development sector with Government of India, UN, SAARC, Girl Rising, Action Aid, among others. As an ethnographer with Convo, she loves doing studies which brings deep insight into mindset and behaviour of young teenagers reflecting interesting dynamics of their socio-cultural environment. She also enjoys doing studies that bring out impact of gender on individual choices and preferences.