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Ethnography From Physical to Digital Contexts: Principles and Practices

Ethnography From Physical to Digital Contexts: Principles and Practices
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Author(s): Angela Delli Paoli (University of Salerno, Italy)
Copyright: 2022
Pages: 21
Source title: Handbook of Research on Advanced Research Methodologies for a Digital Society
Source Author(s)/Editor(s): Gabriella Punziano (University of Naples Federico II, Italy) and Angela Delli Paoli (University of Salerno, Italy)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-8473-6.ch013


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The term ethnography comes from the Greek ethnos (folk, the people, cultures) and gráphein (to write, to describe), and therefore, its literal meaning refers to the description of cultures. The current perspectives of ethnographic research are widening to digital contexts for several interrelated motivations: decolonization, globalization, information and communication technologies (ICTs). The classical loci of digital ethnography is represented by online communities, delimited digital spaces of social aggregation around a given domain of interest. However, in the last years, these privileged sites are complemented or sometimes substituted by social media sites and metadata in digital ethnographic research. As a result, new sites for ethnographic fieldwork are emerging fostering new types of ethnographic practice. The difference in digital ethnographic fields imply an internally diverse array of approaches. The chapter starts from the origins of ethnographic research to investigate its digital developments, methodological challenges, and variety of approach.

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