Collaborative Ethnography, what is it good for?


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It is quite clear to me how television has impacted my family in particular, and that is not much. However, it did provide some good memories for both my interviewee (my mother), and as I begin to focus on the blog posts from my peers, a lot of other people too. I have come to the realisation that television – back in the days it was first introduced – was a highly regarded new technology that a lot of people became involved in, and made their own memories within the act of watching television. However this was only one thing I learned through the television memory research posts, as a lot of people had different stories to tell with different things for me to learn.

Luke Lassiter (2005) defines ethnographic research as, “To collaborate means, literally, to work together, especially in an intellectual effort.” This way of research, is what the BCM240 students have done in collaboration by sharing their interviewee’s stories through blog posts, and sharing them online for each of us to read. To be an ethnographer, you would generally focus on the studies of cultures and how they interact – similar to what we have done by studying not one culture, but many different cultures – such as families who have migrated and may or may not have had television readily available in the places that they were in before Australia. My own family didn’t watch television in Australia for a few years, despite it having been available a few years prior in their home country. This of course, is common thing that I have read through other student’s posts as many have interviewed their parents like I have, and focused on the migration of their family to Australia and how that impacted the way they watch television. The aim of these posts was not for cultural interpretation like some ethnographer’s aim to be the final process. In my understanding, it was to educate on the different ways older people interacted with television back when it was first introduced or when they began watching television.

Through Ethnographic research method of storytelling, we are able to somewhat experience what it may have been like to watch television that many years ago, where there was less technology and the technology that did exist was hard to use. For example, reading other student’s posts it became clear to me that people were enthusiastic toward colour projections when they became available to TV’s, as well as VCR. Many people can still remember the first VCR they watched as one of their most favourable television memories. My mother, for example, remembers her first VCR she watched was, ‘Pretty In Pink,’ and I have read other stories alike this throughout the blog posts too.

Other opportunities that may arise from this type of research is not only the cultural understanding like I mentioned before, but how quickly things can change in regards to new technology and how this impacts people – whether it is negative or positive. Most of the responses’ that were given to my peers questions regarding television were positive, though there were still some posts that made me as a reader understand that television wasn’t a complete positive experience for some. It was expensive and hard to use when it was first introduced, as well as being rather hard to come by compared to television these days. I know my mother only got her television when she did because my granddad was an electrician who found one by chance – other’s may have not been so instantaneously lucky with the expensive luxury and that’s an interesting thing to understand, as it can still be prevalent with today’s technologies. This leads me to the point where I say that collaborative ethnographic research is a commodity that is extremely useful – as well as very interesting – in understanding the different experiences of other generations and cultures. It can be used to understand the different interactions with not only technology, it can be used for anything.


Hoey, Brian. “What Is Ethnography? :: Homepage Of Brian A. Hoey, Ph.D., Anthropology”. N.p., 2013. Web. 22 Aug. 2016.

Lassiter, Luke. “Defining Collaborative Ethnography, An Excerpt From The Chicago Guide To Collaborative Ethnography By Luke Eric Lassiter”. N.p., 2016. Web. 22 Aug. 2016.

Nagy Hesse-Biber, Sharlene. “The Handbook Of Emergent Technologies In Social Research”. Google Books. N.p., 2016. Web. 22 Aug. 2016.




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