Alum Stuart Geiger on Computational Ethnography at University of Copenhagen

19 Mar, 2018

Alum Stuart Geiger on Computational Ethnography at University of Copenhagen

BCNM alum and Cal postdoctoral scholar Stuart Geiger visited the IT University of Copenhagen on March 26 for his event, "Computational Ethnography and the Ethnography of Computation: The Case for Context." Geiger defined and and discussed the two types of thinking about ethnography methodology, in addition to delving into his own research about the topic matter at hand. The talk revolves around the question of how human, cultural contexts fit into a very data-intensive and highly-automated field; Geiger framed his answers through his survey into mixed-method scholarship.

From the event page:

The collection, curation, and analysis of data has always been as social as it is technical. As the statistical techniques and computational infrastructures of artificial intelligence and data science rapidly develop, we must continue to ground our understandings of data in context, drawing on the lived experiences of people who give that data meaning


How can we conduct mixed-method scholarship in line with the broader epistemological principles that make ethnography a rich method for holistically investigating cultural phenomena? Both approaches bring key insights and collaborations to many classic and contemporary issues about information systems as socio-technical systems, letting us attend to data, information, and knowledge as it exists in particular organizational, institutional, social, cultural, economic, and political contexts.

Geiger touched on three different ways to work with computational data the traditional qualitative methods to study computation, the more contemporary yet supplementary frameworks like "trace ethnography" and "computational grounded theory," as well as applying computational methods to the data that ethnographers generate themselves.

Other topics included the Perfect Information Organisation, access to data, operationalizable approaches, and more.

This talk was the 27th in the IT University of Copenhagen's publicETHOS lineup. publicEthos is an event series put on by ETHOS Lab, aimed at facilitating the teaching on and discussion of the lab's research interests.

Read more about what happened on the official website here.