... The avatar-ethnographer studying virtual Harbin's counterculture, created by avatars who are emergently making it out of prims, and through conversation and communication, engages anthropological method, as social science, in new, virtual ways, as representations.
Neither an objective nor a totalizing understanding of actual and virtual Harbins, do I as avatar-ethnographer have, and my goals in developing methods to study actual and virtual Harbin, ethnographically, do not include these goals or aims. The particular kinds of knowledge of Harbin that an ethnographer, a scientist, or a Harbin resident or visitor might have tend to be here based on experience, readings, learnings, conversations, intimacies and other kinds of reaching understanding at Harbin. Although, other researchers may be able to develop, for example, objective social psychology experiments at Harbin (e.g. Haney, C., Banks, W. C., & Zimbardo, P. G. 1973a & b), or measure well-being and affective style vis-a-vis neural substrates and biobehavioural correlates using neural hats, for example (Davidson 2004 - approaches to study Buddhist meditators), which scientific methods and rigor I admire, my goals as researcher are ethnographic, and I see these good examples of social- and neuro-science experimentalism, with objective results, as also partial, given my interest in the culture as a whole at these Harbins. At Harbin, then, because my foci are Harbins' pools' and hippy culture, in situated (e.g. in the pools and in its New Age aspects), and partial ways, I return to ethnography, and, in virtual Harbin, to avatar-ethnography, as method. I'm interested in the ways Harbin's history - for example, the 1970s at Harbin - inform contemporary Harbin, but there aren't that many resources, and no one is talking, or possibly remembers. In 'knowing about' Harbin, with an interest in generating a conversation about the counterculture there, I engage the world wide web, knowledge-wise, which interactively brings Harbin into further conversation with many new processes and temporalities, as a kind of knowledge generation. See these Harbin Youtube videos, for example: http://scott-macleod.blogspot.com/2010/11/hemiphractus-fasciatus-harbin-hot.html - November 28, 2010 :) . In the process, my network of Harbin friends who also 'know about' Harbin may grow, and virtual Harbin may also become a locus where many Harbinites may generate both the 'Harbin experience' with virtual Watsu, as well as be-ins, turning-ons, tuning-ins, and soakings-in-the-pools, that will then articulate with actual on-the-ground Harbin in generative-for-knowledge-and-understanding-ways. But objectivity and totalizing knowledge about Harbin this is not. Instead, further communicative, connecting and soaking 'practices' grow, for example, as actual and virtual Harbins' 'cultures' develop through time, in its ever present now-now, coming into conversation with contemporary ethnographic practices. Back to the actual pools.
Participant observation, in actual and virtual worlds, and warm pools, as method, is edifying, successfully bridges their differences, and can be richly informative as a form of knowledge-production; visiting Harbin is also very enjoyable. ...
(http://scott-macleod.blogspot.com/2010/11/valley-half-dome-neither-objective-nor.html - November 30, 2010)