Technology and technique in a useful ethnography of movement

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Abstract

Ethnographers have always had to be concerned with the movements of their informants, and this article identifies the continuing importance of bodily technique and skill in fieldwork from a mobilities perspective. It develops an approach to technology and technique from Marcel Mauss to consider the relationship between ethnography as a technological enterprise and as a set of bodily skills. Evidence is presented on technology as ‘gear’ amongst hill-walkers in north east Scotland, many of whom adhere to a ‘low-tech’ aesthetic. Drawing inspiration from them, the suggestion is made that ethnographers should be cautious of adopting ‘high-tech’ tools for their research. Examples of GPS (Global Positioning System) use amongst the hill-walkers and in cases from the literature illustrate these themes. Finally, the article argues that making the techniques of ethnographic research more broadly known might have the advantage of making the results more useable and accessible.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)203-219
Number of pages17
JournalMobilities
Volume6
Issue number2
Early online date23 Mar 2011
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2011

Keywords

  • ethnography
  • technology
  • technique
  • walking
  • Scotland

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