Politics, Civil Society and Participation: Media and Communications in a Transforming Environment

Title chapter: Media ethnography for busy people: Introducing students to the ethnographic approach in media-related syllabi
Author: Simone Tosoni and Fredrik Stiernstedt
Keywords: pedagogy, media ethnography, visual ethnography, photography, denaturalization
Abstract: Teaching the ethnographic approach is a challenging effort in higher education due to the increasing time constraints that characterize current academia. A debate about how to teach ethnography is therefore particularly urgent. As a contribution to foster this debate, this article presents and discusses a practical exercise, first tested at the SuSo 2015 Summer School. The method is based on taking pictures of media practices, texts and technologies in public spaces. The mediation of the camera allows students to engage with the field and to experiment with the ‘denaturalizing’ vision that generally characterizes ethnographic approaches to media use and consumption. This reflexive stance is further fostered by a classroom discussion on the practice of observation and on the materials produced. In this way, the exercise aims at an acceptable compromise between the reduced time available for teaching and the advantages of allowing students to personally experience the practicalities of method.
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