Erkan Saka: Blogging as a Research Tool (1.1)

Posted on May 20, 2008 by


Anthropology bloggers know of Erkan Saka for, among other things, diligently tracking the contents of a great many anthropology blogs on his own online field diary. It is by very far the best roundup of anthropology blog postings that one can find, and I very much appreciate the inclusive and extensive nature of his coverage. In addition, one can see the headlines of a wide range of anthropology blogs at Lorenz Khazaleh’s “Anthropology Newspaper,” and a massive collection of feeds to an even wider range of blogs.

Given his time spent blogging and reviewing anthropology blogs, it is good news that he has produced a working paper titled, “Blogging as a research tool for ethnographic fieldwork,” for the Media-Anthropology discussion list. Hopefully this will generate some good discussion, and usually the comments of the discussant, and those of the readers on the list, are posted along with the paper at the end of the online seminar period.

The abstract for Saka’s paper is as follows:

This presentation argues that blogging emerges as a new research tool for the ones conducting ethnographic fieldwork. Moreover, I argue throughout my paper that new media with a particular emphasis in blogging will have even larger consequences for the discipline of anthropology. In order to substantiate my main argument I focus on these issues:
a) Blogging might be a remedy to the anxiety of being in ‘after the fact’ that is shared by many anthropologists. Blogging takes place in the present tense while actively engaging with ‘the fact’;
b) blogging brings immediate feedback
c) not only from the limited scholarly circles but from a wider public/audience
d) which exposes the ethnographer to a much more effective issue of accountability.
Moreover,
e) blogging urges to seemotives in a more regular sense, thus creates a strong sense of regularity
f) that forces the ethnographer to produce on a regular basis
g) with a constant appeal to narrate what would normally remain fragments of fieldnotes. In addition to depending on scholarly sources of interest, this paper exploits the presenter’s own experience of blogging during his fieldwork.

Interested readers should also see NO DIVIDE for a research project that is also devotes its attention to anthropology blogging, and one can witness and partake in the development of the research project as it proceeds.