Digitally democratizing the new ethnographic endeavour: getting thicker around the Geertz?

Hickey, Andrew and Austin, Jon (2008) Digitally democratizing the new ethnographic endeavour: getting thicker around the Geertz? International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social Sciences, 3 (1). pp. 257-265. ISSN 1833-1882


At the intersection of the unfolding of the seventh, eighth and ninth moments of qualitative research (Denzin & Lincoln, 2006) and the development of new forms of information and communication technologies lies a powerful possibility for the application of more democratic and authentic forms of ethnographic research and representational work. For those who embrace the emancipatory potential of the 'new ethnographies' (Goodall, 2000) inclusivity, authenticity and decolonialist
practice emerge as markers of rigour in qualitative research. Digital technologies provide a mechanism to this end by strengthening the data-collection part of the ethnographic process while at the same time opening up rich and evocative means for the presentation and distribution of research outcomes. The first section of this paper looks at the use of a number of new forms of digital technologies- specifically the mobile phone, iPod and digital camera – in ethnographic research work and explores how the forms of data made accessible by these are able to significantly enhance the 'thickness' of ethnographic description (Geertz, 1973). In the second part of this paper, we explore the major contribution new digital forms of technology potentially make to the democratizing and de-colonising of the ethnographic process. In particular, we elucidate the effect of authentic research participant engagement in the research endeavour through the use of commonplace digital tools.

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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: © Common Ground. Permanent restricted access to published version due to publisher copyright policy. Authors retain copyright. Readers must contact Common Ground for permission to reproduce.
Faculty / Department / School: Historic - Faculty of Education
Date Deposited: 09 Oct 2008 00:14
Last Modified: 23 Dec 2014 03:13
Uncontrolled Keywords: ethnography; qualitative research; thick description; de-colonial research practice; democratic research; digital technologies; research participants
Fields of Research : 16 Studies in Human Society > 1608 Sociology > 160807 Sociological Methodology and Research Methods
13 Education > 1399 Other Education > 139999 Education not elsewhere classified
10 Technology > 1005 Communications Technologies > 100599 Communications Technologies not elsewhere classified
Socio-Economic Objective: C Society > 93 Education and Training > 9399 Other Education and Training > 939903 Equity and Access to Education

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