Call for Papers for a Workshop to be held at Goldsmiths, University of London: 15-16 December, 2016

Les Back [Sociology] & Mark Johnson [Anthropology] (Goldsmiths, University of London), Maggy Lee (Hong Kong University), Mike McCahill (University of Hull)

Key Note: Mirca Madianou (Goldsmiths, University of London)

The aim of this workshop is to bring together and evaluate critically the use of smartphones in ethnographic research. We ask, what are the particular affordances of smartphones and in what ways might they extend particular sorts of ethnographic practice? To what extent do smartphones supplement and/or supplant pencil and paper, pc and laptop, digital voice recorder and camera, what is the significance of the latter for fieldnotes and writing and how might this shift in recording devices enable and shape new forms of ethnographic engagement? Do smartphones enable a further democratisation of ethnography or do they take us further away from and displace participant observation as an embodied practice of dwelling and reflexively engaged encounter? Do the possibilities of ‘real time’ methods that potentially reorder the temporal relation between data production, analysis and dissemination necessarily engender presentist perspectives that mirror the space time compression of creative capitalism or might it open up new forms of public historical engagement? How might the dualities of this simultaneously most intimate and most public form of communicative and data generating device provoke and unsettle some of the ethical complacencies about anonymity and consent in an age of hyper surveillance?

We invite papers that speak to one or more of these themes, as well as others, and that are principally derived from actually existing experiments in smart ethnography. Papers may be about the use of smartphones to explore the practices of smartphone users; however, we welcome papers that consider how smartphones might be used in novel ways to explore a variety of topics in different sorts of ethnographic situations.

If you would like to participate in this workshop, please submit a 250 word abstract by Friday, 16 September to Mark Johnson: Paper presenters selected for inclusion in the workshop will be notified at the beginning of October.