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The Facebook Post

The Facebook Post
19 Russell Street, Room AP330
Time: Feb 2nd, 5:00 pm End: Feb 2nd, 6:30 pm
Interest Categories: Ethnography, Anthropology (UTSC), Anthropology (UTM), Anthropology (FAS), 2000-

The Department of Anthropology Ethnography Lab Workshop Series presents

The Facebook Post

Workshop Facilitator: Jessika Tremblay, PhD Candidate, Department of Anthropology, University of Toronto

Ten or twenty years ago, ethnographers who encountered online social interactions through such platforms as chat forums, multiplayer online roleplaying games, or virtual worlds, were dealing with marginally represented segments of the population. Not everyone had the access or the interest to incorporate the "online" into their daily lives, let alone shape their identities. As a result, ethnographies dealing with online data were briefly relegated to separate categories such as digital ethnography or online ethnography. More recently, the ubiquitous presence of internet-based communication in the daily lives of a growing segment of the global population has begun to change the ways in which ethnographers approach the significance of online data for their research. Social media, that broad term that applies to a wide range of tools and communication practices that allow users to create and share content through networks, has evolved drastically over the last decade. Yet (depending on the field site) the Facebook post has grown to represent a significant source of data for the ethnographer. In Indonesia, where Facebook remains one of the most popular social media sites among its 88 million active internet users, the Facebook post represents a significant source of sociocultural data. As primary data for an ethnographer, however, what exactly is a Facebook post? How does it relate to face-to-face interactions from the present and the past? How do its form and content recall other forms of mediated communication that precede and coexist with it? For example, how do "traditional" Javanese social practices that surround gossip, ritual, and social hierarchy transfer (or not) into the medium of the Facebook post? How is language use altered and why? Jessika Tremblay has conducted 20 months of ethnographic research in central Java, Indonesia (2012-2014), where she gathered extensive data from Facebook and other social media sites. This workshop will encourage participants to examine what a Facebook post is from a cultural and ethnographic perspective, and how to analyze it from various perspectives.

This event is free an open to all. Registration is not required. For further information, please contact Jessika Tremblay at ethnography.lab@utoronto.ca

The Ethnography Lab is excited to launch its 2016-2017 Workshop Series. This year, the series will focus on experimenting with different techniques for interpreting ethnographic data. Once primary data has been gathered in the field, every ethnographer must grapple with deciding which techniques are best suited to analyzing it before it can be included in a monograph, dissertation, or other published work. Most ethnographers don’t hesitate to spend hours pouring over field-notes, listening to audio recordings, or scrawling the perfect ethnographic vignette to tell a story about their data. But what actually happens between the gathering of that data and its transformation into abstracted, anthropological analysis, is often a mystery.

This workshop series, entitled Ethnographic Objects: Materialities and Meanings, is designed as a collective experimentation with different ways of interpreting the ethnographic object. Each workshop will center around one particular kind of ethnographic object that is commonly encountered in the field: the video interview, the mystical object, the selfie, the music playlist, the Facebook post, and others. Presenters will spend time contextualizing the object within their own field-work experiences, after which participants will be invited to join in the “workshopping” of different techniques to arrive at creative ways of analyzing their meaning. The objective of this series is to encourage critical and active thinking about the processes that are involved in transforming primary data into an anthropological product.

Located in the University of Toronto Department of Anthropology, the Ethnography Lab strives to encourage dynamic discussion and experimentation with the various ways in which ethnography is practiced and imagined.

Join us in the Ethnography Lab Seminar Room, located in the Anthropology Building, room 330, on select Thursdays from 5-6:30pm for stimulating discussion.

This series is FREE and OPEN to the public. Light refreshments will be served.

Contact Jessika Tremblay at ethnography.lab@utoronto.ca for more information.

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