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Reflections on 25 Years of Ethnography in CSCW

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In this article we focus attention on ethnography’s place in CSCW by reflecting on how ethnography in the context of CSCW has contributed to our understanding of the sociality and materiality of work and by exploring how the notion of the ‘field site’ as a construct in ethnography provides new ways of conceptualizing ‘work’ that extends beyond the workplace. We argue that the well known challenges of drawing design implications from ethnographic research have led to useful strategies for tightly coupling ethnography and design. We also offer some thoughts on recent controversies over what constitutes useful and proper ethnographic research in the context of CSCW. Finally, we argue that as the temporal and spatial horizons of inquiry have expanded, along with new domains of collaborative activity, ethnography continues to provide invaluable perspectives.


Blomberg, Jeanette; Karasti, Helena (2013): Reflections on 25 Years of Ethnography in CSCW. Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW): Vol. 22. DOI: 10.1007/s10606-012-9183-1. Springer. PISSN: 1573-7551. pp. 373-423