Friday, November 26, 2010

Leatherback Turtles: Actual & virtual ethnographic study of 'culture' contributes to scientific, knowledge conversations, Science Fiction, too

Harbin ethnography:

... And, in my view, while ethnography does contribute to 'knowledge production about' sociocultural phenomena, which might be considered 'objects' of study or analysis, it also retains scientific approaches to understanding, and knowledge-production-about, the particular and singular, as well.

Not only does the actual and virtual ethnographic study of 'culture,' and here counterculture, contribute to knowledge conversations, scientifically understood (see, too, the Oxford Companion to Philosophy's entry of the philosophy of science, 2005:852), but virtual world building, additionally, “can be crucial … for imagining the kinds of communities that human groups can create with the help of emerging technologies” (Escobar 1994). Methodologically, then, the making and study of virtual Harbin, makes further possible the ethnographic study of both actual and virtual Harbin in new multimedia and digitally-mediated ways, including an examination of the other, of hippies at Harbin, here, counter-culturally. In so doing, this ethnography joins in scientifically-inclined, knowledge-production conversations, especially vis-a-vis the significance of objectivity, anthropologically, while co-generating an emerging-into-the-future '60s-informed, digital, alternative, hot springs' community, for ongoing ethnographic study. In a sense, this book is a scientific anthropology, and envisioning – so, a science fiction (e.g. like Ursula Le Guin's “Always Coming Home” 1985) - which writes virtual ethnography, now in multimedia and virtual worlds.

In a sense my primary experience as an avatar-ethnographer studying and thinking about virtual worlds like Second Life and Open Simulator, with an interest in “The Making of Virtual Harbin as Ethnographic Field Site in Second Life and Open Simulator” (, has been as a student and instructor on Harvard's virtual island in Second Life, since 2006, and representationally. ...

( - November 26. 2010)

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