Ethnography and the Field in Media(ted) Studies: A Practice Theory Approach (new article)

I can’t help it, I’m extremely disappointed by the times and forms of academic publishing. I won’t complain about it but I want to point to the fact that a paper that we wrote two years ago has just see the light. What we do is a labour of love and I’m sure that what many colleagues in open access publications do is exactly the same. We’re all in the same boat and we have to fight together but we definitely have to improve as much as we can on our endeavors to create open but professional-standard scientific product that can cope with the fast-changing times of our objects and our ideas.

Anyway, the article is called Ethnography and the Field in Media(ted) Studies: A Practice Theory Approach (coauthored with Elisenda Ardèvol) and it’s published in a Special Number of the Westminster Papers in Communication and Culture: Media Ethnography: The Challenges of Breaking Disciplinary Boundaries. Here is the link to the full journal and here the abstract:

The aim of this article is to reflect upon the concept of field when doing ethnographies related to digital technologies of communication in everyday life. Following the example of ethnographic fieldwork carried out by one of the authors with a group of highly mediated photographers in Barcelona (Gómez Cruz, 2012), we reflect on the conceptualization of fieldwork in digital ethnographies and discuss how ‘Practice Theory’[1] could be useful as a basis for media and digital ethnographies.

Finally, I want to thank Andrea Medrado for her editing labour and her “religiously” patience with our constant mails about the publication.


[1] Although more than a single theory or group of theories, ‘Practice Theory’ stands as an approach to the study of the social. For an in-depth introduction see Warde (2005) and Reckwitz (2002).

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Imagenaciones etnográficas

Una de las consecuencias, inintencionadas, de mi trabajo de campo con fotógrafos y fotógrafas, fue la reflexión sobre las posibilidades de la combinación de imágenes, textos y conexiones para la creación de mundos sociales[1]. La reflexión sobre los usos comunes, en el día a día, de esta combinación, me ha llevado a pensar cada vez más en sus posibilidades para la reflexión “científica” sobre esos mismos mundos sociales. Pero aún más, en problematizar lo “científico” como algo relacionado con la “autoridad” (o peor aún, con la objetividad). La reflexión no es ni nueva ni está resuelta (al menos para mí). La clave, de lo que empiezo a buscar está en la combinación de dos cosas:

  1.  Mi creciente interés en la libertad para escribir lo que Clifford llamaba “ficciones etnográficas”, especialmente la parte “artesanal” de ellas y especialmente la parte de imaginación que ello conlleva (no es casual el nombre de este blog)
  2. Las posibilidades visuales y digitales que se abren para imaginar, describiendo y reflexionando, distintos mundos sociales

Hace poco tuvimos un seminario con Sarah Pink. Ella comentaba que lo importante de pensar la práctica etnográfica es pensarla como una práctica, algo que hacemos y que es parte de la forma en la que producimos conocimiento; y, como dijo ella: “si no comprendemos cómo estamos produciendo conocimiento, no comprenderemos el estatus del conocimiento que estamos produciendo”. Si tomáramos esta advertencia y la desarrolláramos reflexivamente ¿podríamos aventurarnos en la creación de un conocimiento etnográfico ficcional e imaginativo pero empíricamente informado? Algo parecido a lo que plantea Willis cuando habla de “Imaginaciones aterrizadas”. Paul Willis, en su libro La imaginación etnográfica, texto sugerente pero no exento de críticas, propone que “los puntos analíticos, bien fundamentados e iluminadores, fluyen sólo al poner los conceptos en relación con lo caótico de la vida cotidiana, registrada de alguna forma”. La ambición, plantea Willis, de la labor etnográfica sería entonces contar “mi historia” sobre “su historia”. Continue reading

Co-creation and Participation as a Means of Innovation in New Media: An Analysis of Creativity in the Photographic Field (new article)

It is not always easy to co-author a paper with someone. I’ve come to understand that the process of writing is indeed a process of dialogue and learning about other’s points of views (and yours as well). I’m really proud that a paper I participated in (I have to say that the soul of the paper is based on her effort and interesting ideas) has just been published. In my career I’ve published with many colleagues and it has always been inspiring and a great lesson so, thank you for sharing this dialogue with me, Gemma. The full text is here and this is the abstract

This study endeavors to shed some light on the notion of co-creation in the global context of new media user participation and its relationship with innovation. First, the different discourses surrounding the notion of co-creation will be discussed, which are mainly addressed to industry-oriented projects. Alternatively, a nondirected case study focused on digital photography will be presented, enabling an analysis of co-creation through the lens of the theories of creativity. Consequently, through connecting creativity with our fieldwork, we suggest that the transformation of a cultural field by means of co-creation can lead to innovations that affect the entire field.