Society for Cultural Anthropology
Volunteered - Oral Presentation Session
What kind of place is the ethnographer’s field? How is it constructed and challenged in digital and multi-sited work? Following Ferguson and Gupta (1997) Mack disrupts the notion of bounded and enduring field. Instead, she suggests that researchers attend to the mosaic of encounters and engagements that occur during ethnographic work. She argues that the field itself emerges out of these experiences, which are tangled up and knotted together, and that this process requires ethnographic attention.
Using Ingold’s (2015) meshwork, she examines how her own encounters with the Canadian identitarian movement on- and offline influence this place-making. She explores the lines and knots that form when conducting multi-sited research, and considers how this extends the movement—and the field—beyond Canada’s analogue and digital borders. She asks: What relational lines connect social media to offline events? What ties identitarian communities across the globe to Canadian groups? How does her research stitch these together?
By attending to the connections between her own engagements and those of her interlocutors, a place emerges through deliberate knots, which she works into a coherent pattern. This approach of stitching together physical and digital spaces into an evolving place for research sheds light on far-right groups in Canada, which are often excluded from international research on the far-right. Attending to a single, bounded site does not reveal the complexity of the pattern.
Ferguson & Gupta (1997). Anthropological locations: Boundaries and grounds of a field science. University of California Press.
Ingold (2012). The life of lines. Routledge.