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Identity, heritage and creative research practice in Basilicata, southern Italy

Sonic ethnography explores the role of sound-making and listening practices in the formation of local identities in the southern Italian region of Basilicata. The book uses a combination of text, photography and sound recording to investigate soundful cultural performances such as tree rituals, carnivals, pilgrimages, events promoting cultural heritage and more informal musical performances. Its approach demonstrates how in the acoustic domain tradition is made and disrupted, power struggles take place and acoustic communities are momentarily brought together in shared temporality and space. This book underlines how an attention to sound-making, recording and listening practices can bring innovative contributions to the ethnography of an area that has been studied by Italian and foreign scholars since the 1950s. The approaches of the classic anthropological scholarship on the region have become one of the forces at play in a complex field where discourses on a traditional past, politics of heritage and transnational diasporic communities interact. The book’s argument is carried forward not just by textual means, but also through the inclusion of six ‘sound-chapters’, that is, compositions of sound recordings themed so as to interact with the topic of the corresponding textual chapter, and through a large number of colour photographs. Two methodological chapters, respectively about doing research in sound and on photo-ethnography, explain the authors’ approach to field research and to the making of the book.

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Evolution of a concept
David MacDougall

O NE often hears the question, ‘What is an ethnographic film?’ I have an answer to this, but the problem is that there are so many answers. For a field that has become increasingly prominent, with books, university programmes and festivals dedicated to it, one would think there would be some agreement. Instead a kind of cautious ambiguity reigns. Occasionally a scholar will argue for a particular definition or a filmmaker will claim their own practice as the only legitimate one, but, for

in The art of the observer
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Managing multiple embodiments in the life drawing class
Rebecca Collins

particularly useful at engendering the slow contemplation and critical reflexivity demanded in order to immerse oneself in the field of inquiry, and, in turn, to enable embodied learning to inform understanding. While artistic and creative practices can be – and are – combined with a range of (primarily) qualitative research methods, much recent research has embedded them within ethnographic, or auto-ethnographic, work (e.g. O’Connor, 2007 ; Paton, 2013 ). In such projects researchers have been firmly, often deeply, embedded in their practice, either as long

in Mundane Methods
Kaiton Williams

4 Engineering ethnography Kaiton Williams Data here and there In Oakland, California, a man brushes past me as I exit my neighbourhood market. ‘Data’, his T-shirt informs me, ‘is the new bacon’. In Kingston, Jamaica, I sit in a nondescript meeting room for a pitch on the potential at the crossroads of agriculture and information technology. ‘Data’, I read on the screen, ‘is the new oil’. I hadn’t travelled to Jamaica to focus on data in particular, whether as oil or bacon, product or substrate. I came to work within its community of technology developers and to

in Ethnography for a data-saturated world
The poet among the Italians
Gioia Angeletti

44 2 Byron’s ethnographic eye: the poet among the Italians Gioia Angeletti ‘It is from experience, not from Books, we ought to judge of mankind. There is nothing like inspection, and trusting to our own senses.’1 This aphorism appears in a letter that Byron wrote to his mother as early as 1808, but the empiricist principle that informs it persisted as one of the central epistemological tenets of his whole career as a writer. Indeed, five years later, in 1813, in a letter to Annabella Milbanke, Byron expounded on the same concept, stating that the ‘great object

in Byron and Italy
Tim William Machan

-worshipping Polynesian could (and did) affirm the truth and pre-eminence of Christianity. 1 If travel encouraged self-realisation, it also produced cultural memory. In the Anglo-Scandinavian context in particular, ethnography offered another venue for thinking about these matters. At issue, most broadly, was what the early modern period often designated race – an amalgamation of qualities and categories today distinguished by ethnicity, language, and nationality as well as racial type. Even the Victorians, Peter Mandell has suggested, ‘used a language of race that was

in Northern memories and the English Middle Ages
Editors: and

Data is not just the stuff of social scientific method; it is the stuff of everyday life. The presence of digital data in an ever widening range of human relationships profoundly unsettles notions of expertise for both ethnographers and data scientists alike. This collection situates digital data in broader knowledge-production practices. It asks about the kinds of social worlds that data scientists are creating as the profession coalesces, and looks at the contemporary possibilities available to both ethnographers and their participants for knowing, formatting and intervening in the world. It shows what digital data is doing to the empirical methods that sustain claims to expertise, with a particular focus on implications for ethnography.

The contributors offer empirically grounded accounts of the cultures, infrastructures and epistemologies of data production, analysis and use. They examine the professionalisation of data science in a variety of national and transnational contexts. They look closely at specific data practices like archiving of environmental data, or claims-making about how software is produced. They also offer a glimpse into the new methodological and pedagogical possibilities for teaching and doing ethnography in a data-saturated world.

Dawn Nafus

10 Working ethnographically with sensor data Dawn Nafus This chapter is primarily about methods. I work in Intel Labs, the research and development organisation at Intel. Since 2007, I have been asking research participants to collect digital data about themselves, and giving it back to them in forms designed to stimulate conversation. I invite participants to reflect on data as matters of concern, not matters of fact (Latour 2004), and they largely respond in this spirit. Much like the chapter from Powell (Chapter 9 above), and in the spirit of the broader turn

in Ethnography for a data-saturated world
Adrian Mackenzie

7 Operative ethnographies and large numbers Adrian Mackenzie I report here on a deliberately naive attempt to re-count a single number: approximately 29 million code repositories on Github at a particular point in time (late 2015). The number appeared in a research project primarily focused largely on transformations in the social life of coding, programming and software development amidst apps, clouds, virtualisation and the troubled life of code commons. In exploring ‘how people build software’ (Github 2015), the project explicitly sought to experiment with

in Ethnography for a data-saturated world
Capturing ordinary human–animal encounters
Becky Tipper

An ethnography of everyday encounters with creatures Ethnographic research offers a way of attending closely to people's ordinary, lived experience – practising the ‘art of listening’ that Les Back ( 2007 ) argues should drive the sociological endeavour. Here, I discuss the use of a neighbourhood ethnography which explored one aspect of everyday British life: people's encounters with animals. 1 Creatures of all kinds are enmeshed in ordinary human lives: people eat them, own them, live alongside them. We might take their presence for

in Mundane Methods