Monday, January 3, 2011

Sierra Nevada Mountain Pool: INTERVIEWS, POOL WORK, AND PLACE-PLATFORM COMPARED, Research, Generative and improvisational kinds of inquiry

Harbin ethnography:

... Such a process may also involve anticipating group, wiki-like, virtual Harbin building.


While “research is most effective when each component method is keyed to a specific set of questions” (Boellstorff 2008:75), Harbin's unique pool culture, where soaking {and releasing} in its waters is central, can lead to generative and improvisational kinds of inquiry, as new interactions emerge. To complement participant observation as an approach to learning 'knowledge about' people, sociocultural processes and milieus, focused ethnographic research questions can generate cascades of lines of inquiry in specific and unfolding ways. Participant observation, in its indirectness, can also help glean insight into cultural processes that are unspoken, and unconscious to even Harbin residents, for example. Participant observation is also richly illuminating for seeing practices and beliefs (Boellstorff 2008: 75) as they emerge, as well as ways in which they inform relations between, for example, Harbin residents and Harbin visitors. And participant observation can also open new research questions, unthought of initially by the researcher. Other methodological approaches in anthropology, for example, interviews, textual analysis, focus groups, and archival research, complement the primary ethnographic practice of participant observation. While I engage, and have engaged, most of the above ethnographic practices on the ground at actual Harbin, my ethnographic study of virtual Harbin, and its making, also makes use of, for example, of digital text-chat transcripts, group virtual world building, scripting for Watsu, just to name a few of some new, ethnographic virtual world practices vis-a-vis virtual Harbin. And participant observation will continue to be a foundational ethnographic practice, informing all of these new approaches.

During my on-the-ground field work, I conducted around 20 formal, recorded interviews, and innumerable informal conversations. ...

( - January 3, 2011)

No comments: