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Experimental Collaborations: Ethnography through Fieldwork Devices

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Volume 34

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Experimental Collaborations

Ethnography through Fieldwork Devices

Edited by Adolfo Estalella and Tomás Sánchez Criado
Foreword by George E. Marcus
Afterword by Sarah Pink

236 pages, 18 illus., bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-78533-853-3 $135.00/£99.00 / Hb / Published (April 2018)

ISBN  978-1-80073-015-1 $34.95/£27.95 / Pb / Published (September 2021)

eISBN 978-1-78533-854-0 eBook

View CartYour country: - edit Request a Review or Examination Copy (in Digital Format)Recommend to your LibraryAvailable in GOBI®


“This volume proposes devices for attuning researchers to field sites, moving in and with them, or making sense of specific encounters after the fact…The potential shape of fieldwork devices is difficult to convey in a purely conceptual or textbook format – this volume uses powerful examples to help readers out…The humanity of ethnographic research projects emerges, with its ‘methodological anxieties’ and the often required ‘creative inventiveness emanating from fieldwork practices’.” • Science & Technology Studies

“As a pedagogical text, this volume will be useful to graduate students in anthropology, particularly for methods classes, and other disciplines that employ ethnography. On the whole, the collection insightfully and productively furthers the notion of what collaboration can be, and how it is practiced, in fieldwork.” • Anthropos

“Every tradition (re)invents itself. What is more, it’s impossible to keep tradition without reimagining and reinventing it constantly. This book is an invitation to rethink our methodological repertoires, an exercise in ethnographic (re)imagination. An inventory but not a recipe book; a contemporary inventory of the (multiple and complex) ways in which anthropology relates to the production of knowledge….At a time when politics turns into experimentation, in this work experimentation is a political moment, as politics not only traverses militant anthropology but also examines the ways we think, feel, share, and (co-) produce knowledge.” • Disparidades: Revista de antropología

“This volume… represents a very serious, worthwhile, and successful effort to bring together new works on ethnographic field methods… It will be of relevance to all practicing anthropologists, regardless of their subdiscipline, area of geographical interest, or current career position.” • David O’Kane, Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology, Halle/Saale, Germany

Experimental Collaborations provides fascinating insights into some of the muddiest disciplines premised on engaged ‘fieldwork’. The book proposes an interesting and useful theoretical framework to explicate the contemporary challenges facing ‘fieldworkers’ of various kinds.” • Matan Shapiro, Ben Gurion University of the Negev


In the accounts compiled in this book, ethnography occurs through processes of material and social interventions that turn the field into a site for epistemic collaboration. Through creative interventions that unfold what we term as “fieldwork devices”—such as coproduced books, the circulation of repurposed data, co-organized events, authorization protocols, relational frictions, and social rhythms—anthropologists engage with their counterparts in the field in the construction of joint anthropological problematizations. In these situations, the traditional tropes of the fieldwork encounter (i.e. immersion and distance) give way to a narrative of intervention, where the aesthetics of collaboration in the production of knowledge substitutes or intermingles with participant observation. Building on this, the book proposes the concept of “experimental collaborations” to describe and conceptualize this distinctive ethnographic modality.

Adolfo Estalella is Assistant Professor in Social Anthropology at the Department of Social Anthropology and Social Psychology, Complutense University of Madrid. His research focuses on the investigation of grassroots urbanism and digital cultures.

Tomás Sánchez Criado is Senior Researcher at the Chair of Urban Anthropology of the Department of European Ethnology, Humboldt-University of Berlin. In the last few years he has worked on urban accessibility activism, and its impact in city-making and ethnographic work.

Subject: Anthropology (General)Theory and Methodology


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