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The Organizational Chart

The Organizational Chart
19 Russell Street, Room AP330
Time: Apr 6th, 5:00 pm End: Apr 6th, 6:30 pm
Interest Categories: Ethnography, Anthropology (UTSC), Anthropology (UTM), Anthropology (FAS), 2000-

The Department of Anthropology Ethnography Lab Workshop Series presents

Magical Objects

Workshop Facilitator: Carsten Knoch, MA Student, Department of Anthropology, University of Toronto

Organizational charts (org charts, organograms) are relational diagrams showing the structure of organizations. They seem to offer an "easy" way into understanding a company, not-for-profit, or government department. As representations, they "name" and "describe" employees, inviting us to ask further questions about them, helping us get oriented in a new organizational environment. But they also capture hierarchical power relations, translating the outwardly visible notion of military rank into the less visually declarative world of white collar work (where clothes don't necessarily indicate rank). Org charts are material-semiotic objects that are constitutive of material realities: who reports to whom, who has a "dotted line" to whom, who has "to be hired" positions ("open headcount"), who is more or less important. "Moving" someone from one position in an org chart to another has direct impact to their working life. In this workshop, we will examine actual sample org charts; think about the org chart's history and historical analogues; learn how org charts are created and distributed (e.g. various Microsoft software products have "org chart creation" features - how do these reinforce conventions and "silently" co-create organizational relations?); and work on other ways of engaging org charts as ethnographic objects.

Carsten Knoch works as a freelance management consultant focusing on change management and innovation. He is also finishing a part-time MA in social anthropology at UofT and increasingly uses ethnographic methods in his consulting work. When working with organizations, he frequently encounters org charts - sometimes as "informational artifacts," sometimes in a more active capacity, for example when helping organizations with what's known as a "re-org" - the process of changing its underlying structure by changing its org chart.

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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