Ethnography Club

Ethnography traces its origins in colonialism and 19th-century evolutionism. It focuses on the detailed study of the non-Western Other, as well as on social groups and ethnic minorities; as such, it became entrenched as a unique disciplinary perspective. The hallmark of social anthropology has been its method which distinguishes it from other social science disciplines. Since the 1980s ethnography has contributed to the revision and critical reassessment of social theory by critically articulating the predicaments and liabilities of positivism on the ground. The increased complexity and expansion of networks, the cultural diversity of urban spaces and culture areas, the expanding sphere of ‘big data’,  and the progressively imperceptible border between reality and the imaginary, in writing and visual representation (films, tv-series) have shifted ethnography towards the (contradictions) and engagements between the micro and the macro, the global and the local, including further interdisciplinary dialogues with the fields of Cultural Studies, Gender Studies, and critical Border Studies. Ethnographic research is today multi-local and multi-temporal. It ranges between far away communities to ethno-scapes of urban spaces, it addresses issues of material culture and social relations, cultural heritage in the web, Slow and Big archival Data. At the same time, participant observation embedded in sensory data systematically discloses power relations and hegemonies, the latent inequalities of neoliberalism, and the implicit stereotypes of dominant discourses. In this framework, the “Ethnography Club” will highlight the relevance of the ethnographic method in the study of ‘distinctions’, divisions, exclusions, inclusions, coexistence, and social integration. While at the same time opting for a creative and reflective approach in the thought and action of all those engaged in the multi-leveled understanding of the ‘contemporary world’.