P2P Ethnography

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Description

Salvatore Iaconese:

1.

"P2P Ethnography, as Ethnography, can be defined as a qualitative research design aimed at exploring cultural phenomena. Different from Ethnography, its aim is not to produce field studies or case reports, but to establish continuously available, accessible, participatory, performative and collaborative processes which allow gaining understandings about the knowledge and the systems of meanings in the lives of a social group, and its interactions with other ones.

P2P Ethnography represents a participatory, performative approach, in which research and understanding require gaining awareness of one’s position within the relational ecosystem (from cultural, emotional, aesthetic, perceptive, cognitive points of view) of the observed social group, and to establish or modify relations and interconnections both within the group, outside of it, and in-between, in fluid, dynamic, possibilistic ways.

P2P Ethnography requires the definition of the concept of Ubiquitous Commons: the availability and accessibility of shared, usable Knowledge, Information and Data Commons which are ubiquitous both in their spatial dissemination and in their capacity to co-exist throughout cultures, divides, media. A protocol for a new definition of Public Space in the Age of Communication, Information and Knowledge." (http://www.artisopensource.net/network/artisopensource/2014/07/30/communication-knowledge-and-information-in-the-human-ecosystem-p2p-ethnography/)


2.

"P2P Ethnography, as Ethnography, is a qualitative research design aimed at exploring cultural phenomena. Different from Ethnography, its aim is not to produce field studies or case reports, but to establish continuously available, accessible, participatory and collaborative processes which allow gaining understandings about the knowledge and the systems of meanings in the lives of a cultural group [I would say social group] , and its interactions with other ones.

[Since everything starts from the digital environment I would stress two key concepts: 1) non-human actors; 2) the role of users. 1) In studying the digital eco-system it is always important to take into account the agency of digital devices (Latour) and how they interact with people (Rogers), that is how digital devices shape actions and interactions of people (Boyd, Papacharissi)]. In this case such idea is not explicit in the document but, anyway it is strongly embedded in the project itself: the interaction between human and non-human actors becomes explicit when one visualises the fluxes of communication online - for example through a network. 2) On the digital eco-system users become collaborators of ethnographers, since they continuously produce data and meta-data, thus they collaborate with researchers in defining (and analysing) the field of research] A P2P Ethnography is a means to represent interactively, graphically, in writing and through the use of a series of tools and processes the culture of a group, its dynamic and emergent transformations, based on the possibility to position oneself in relation to the group (within, outside, beside, or in-between), and to describe and qualify the evolving relational apparatus of the group.

In this sense, P2P Ethnography is a "space", in which one positions him/herself, and from which he/she is able to observe the dynamic, emergent transformation of a culture and of the groups which define it, and of the relational apparatus which characterizes it.

The typical P2P ethnography is a holistic study and so includes the history of the space, of its evolution, politics and society, and an analysis of the physical / digital / informational / communicational / emotional landscape, from the points of view of a variety of disciplines.

These sets of studies, together with the platforms and tools which combine to form the instrumentation of P2P Ethnography, form a common, and are used to observe the dynamics of the group(s) and their cultures. They are created and can be constantly accessed and integrated, through participatory practices, in which all points of view can (potentially) be represented, together with the possibility to navigate them, and to see how they evolved through time and circumstances.

In all cases P2P Ethnography should be reflexive, make a substantial contribution toward the understanding of the social life of humans, have an aesthetic impact on the reader, and express a credible reality. It observes the world from the point of view of the subject (not the participant ethnographer) and records all observed behavior and describes all symbol-meaning relations using concepts that avoid casual explanations."

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