A Few Challenges of Digital Ethnography

Exploring a few thoughts about anthropological history and ethnographic method

This short article will explore the challenges associated with anthropological fieldwork on digital media and why this work is important. It will focus on digital ethnography and ethical implications. If it is incomplete and at times incorrect feel free to comment with corrections or thoughts.

Fieldwork with Digital Ethnography

Being ethical in 4.0

From the initial mechanisation; mass production; computer and automation; to connected physical cyber systems, ethnographic work in practice raises various ethical questions.

Conclusion

Challenges facing classic anthropological fieldwork as described in this article can be summed up in acceptance, acquisition and accessibility. Firstly, widely accepting digital ethnography in its variety of forms as “real anthropology” with academic merit. Secondly, the acquisition of experience and skills within digital ethnography from these early-adopters and from other fields with technical or other forms of knowledge that can be taught to stu- dents is vital; programming languages, history, cryptography, infrastructure, applications and much more. Thirdly, accessibility for informants as well as communities studied; developments in increased access to digital media with all ethical considerations that follow; with increased skills understanding the challenges developing in connection with the classical anthropology to build upon; contributing to the further understanding and critique of humanity in these challenging times.

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AI Policy and Ethics at www.nora.ai. Student at University of Copenhagen MSc in Social Data Science. All views are my own. twitter.com/AlexMoltzau

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