DEI talk: John Postill on “Digital ethnography as a flat methodology”, 11.06.2024, 17.00 CET, hybrid

Foto by Carrie Borden on Unsplash

The Digital Ethnography Initiative (DEI) is delighted to invite you to a talk by Dr. John Postill (RMIT), one of the key international scholars in the field of digital ethnography. The talk will be hybrid (University of Vienna and online) and followed by a discussion.

Date: June 11, 2024
Time: 17.00-18.30 CET
Place: HS-C, Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology, 4. floor, NIG, Universitätsstrasse 7, 1010 Vienna
Online link:

Title and abstract:

Digital ethnography as a flat methodology: comparing hybrid and online research on digital activism

In this talk I draw from two decades practising digital ethnography in the UK, Malaysia, Indonesia, Spain, and Australia to assess the strengths and limitations of this approach for the study of digital activism. I start with a critical overview of digital ethnography as an open-ended, fuzzy, and often misunderstood approach to qualitative research. I then focus on two projects of mine separated by a decade: a hybrid (online/offline) study of Spain’s indignados movement in the early 2010s and an ongoing online study of the anti-woke movement in the Anglosphere. I argue for the versatility of digital ethnography as a ‘flat methodology’ that does not privilege any prior method. This agnosticism gives media anthropologists and other scholars a license to do ‘whatever works’ – so long as they can overcome the epistemic and institutional angst that often goes with this ‘messy’ way of doing things.   

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