(Coping with) Messiness in Ethnography – Methods, Ethics and Participation in ethnographic Field Work in the non-Western World
European Society for Socially Embedded Technologies (EUSSET)
There are several frameworks and approaches, addressing how to conduct ethnographic and qualitative field work in various settings. However, going by the book might not be an option when conducting research in politically charged, unstable or simply non-western regions. Politics, social pressure and even someone’s personal safety might be necessary to consider. Another important area to consider are research ethics. Privacy policies might do their work with regard to existing laws which differ from each country and should ensure no harm for all involved parties, but how can this be guaranteed and does it also cover all aspects of ethics? Including stakeholders as a basis for user-centered work and design is common. But what does participation mean in such contexts? The questions are: What is important to consider when conducting ethnographic field work in such settings? How can we foster different degrees of genuine participation? How can we ensure, that the work we do is ethically correct without endangering the research outcome? In this workshop, we invite researchers and practitioners to rethink existing methods and approaches and start working on guidelines, that better serves the needs of such specific and to some extent critical circumstances.