IN THE GAME: Ethnographic relationships, mediation and knowledge


A workshop will bring together a number of ethnographers around the theme of research relationships in mediated settings. This event is planned for fall 2008 and will lead to a publication.

This event will be a preconference workshop at Internet Research 9.0: Rethinking Communities, Rethinking Place, to be held on 15 October 2008 in Copenhagen, Denmark. For information about the conference, please see the AoIR website

Participants and structure
The workshop is aimed at researchers who have already pursued fieldwork in mediated environments. They are invited to submit a paper proposal (1500 words) before 9 May 2008 to Marinka Copier, The proposal should present elements of the ethnographic material and a reflection on that work from the perspective of one of the proposed workshop themes: continuity, accountability, affectivity & embodiment, and scholarly practices. The goal of this process is to bring together practicing ethnographers for an in-depth discussion of some key issues within the domain, simultaneously grounded in concrete projects. The workshop will have a maximum of 15 participants to enable in-depth discussion, and respondents will be assigned for each paper. Submissions will be selected on the basis of peer-review, which will be coordinated by the organisers of the workshop.

Important dates

Call for papers:   4 April
Deadline for submissions:   9 May
Announcement of paper acceptance:  30 May
Deadline for full papers:  1 September
Papers to participants and respondent:  15 September
Pre-conference Workshop:  Wednesday October 15th




Utrecht University: Marinka Copier, Institute of Media and Re/presentation, Faculty of Arts

IT University of Copenhagen: TL Taylor, Media Technology and Games Program, Center for Computer Games Research

Virtual Knowledge Studio: Anne Beaulieu

Virtual Ethnography Collaboratory, VKS


This project will involve holding a scholarly, specialist meeting in which in-depth discussions lead to further insights about specific issues around ethnography in mediated settings. This event will build on the VKS virtual ethnography seminar; Trials and Tribulations in Montreal and the session on Network Ethnography at 4S in 2007, in Montreal.
A core issue for ethnography is the ethnographer’s relationship to her object of knowledge. Although the web as a context of research has been heralded as an opportunity for the ethnographer to become the invisible ‘fly on the wall’, our experience leads us to emphasise that on the contrary. The participant pole of the participant -observer continuum (if there is such a thing) remains crucial, also in mediated settings. Indeed in some contexts there is no research stance outside of that of engaged participant. The existence of relationships with respondent is essential to ethnographies that want to maintain a focus on meaning and culture. The opportunities and challenges posed by pursuing ethnographies in mediated settings may be other than claims to having achieved objectivity, and may consist in a re-examination and re-valuation of particular attachments to the ethnographic tradition.

This event seeks to explore the particular textures and implications of ethnographic relationships in mediated settings and practices. These relationships are important not only for fieldwork activities as traditionally conceived (‘gathering data’) but also for processes of knowledge production and dissemination.
Themes to be explored include: Contiguity; Accountability; Affectivity and embodiment; Scholarly practices


The workshop was held in October 2008. Participants, papers and discussions are documented on the workshop blog.
Please see the blog.