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Problematizing the field: theorizing spatial volatility in ethnographic fieldwork

Problematizing the field: theorizing spatial volatility in ethnographic fieldwork
Problematizing the field: theorizing spatial volatility in ethnographic fieldwork
The purpose of this paper is to problematize the idea of the ethnographic field that is usually taken for granted in Information Systems (IS) field research. The field is the touchstone of reality which the ethnographer encounters yet it is often thought of something fixed and merely 'out there' where the ethnographer goes to conduct the research. However, recent advances in anthropological scholarship disclose that the field might be in constant flux. In this paper, thus, we focus on just one aspect of the changing field, that of spatial volatility. We report some spatial issues during our eight months of ethnographic fieldwork among young information technology professionals in a large scale technology organization. We suggest that the hermeneutic of volatility can provide access to significant moments during fieldwork by taking spatial aspects into account. The study aims to contribute toward adding conceptual tools in the ethnographic toolkit for IS researchers.
Chughtai, Hameed
e8600973-9db8-4649-be67-def5f2a83a72
Karahanna, Elena
6613d7fb-f0a0-493d-b893-63790ca9e61c
Srinivasan, Ananth
d748cbd9-1022-4aa9-91f9-ebddc8ec74a5
Tan, Bernard
4e8ec5f8-bf03-4735-ba4e-906879d0d98f
Chughtai, Hameed
e8600973-9db8-4649-be67-def5f2a83a72
Karahanna, Elena
6613d7fb-f0a0-493d-b893-63790ca9e61c
Srinivasan, Ananth
d748cbd9-1022-4aa9-91f9-ebddc8ec74a5
Tan, Bernard
4e8ec5f8-bf03-4735-ba4e-906879d0d98f

Chughtai, Hameed (2014) Problematizing the field: theorizing spatial volatility in ethnographic fieldwork. Karahanna, Elena, Srinivasan, Ananth and Tan, Bernard (eds.) 35th International Conference on Information Systems, New Zealand. 14 - 17 Dec 2014.

Record type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)

Abstract

The purpose of this paper is to problematize the idea of the ethnographic field that is usually taken for granted in Information Systems (IS) field research. The field is the touchstone of reality which the ethnographer encounters yet it is often thought of something fixed and merely 'out there' where the ethnographer goes to conduct the research. However, recent advances in anthropological scholarship disclose that the field might be in constant flux. In this paper, thus, we focus on just one aspect of the changing field, that of spatial volatility. We report some spatial issues during our eight months of ethnographic fieldwork among young information technology professionals in a large scale technology organization. We suggest that the hermeneutic of volatility can provide access to significant moments during fieldwork by taking spatial aspects into account. The study aims to contribute toward adding conceptual tools in the ethnographic toolkit for IS researchers.

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More information

e-pub ahead of print date: December 2014
Venue - Dates: 35th International Conference on Information Systems, New Zealand, 2014-12-14 - 2014-12-17
Organisations: Centre of Excellence in Decision, Analytics & Risk Research

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 398014
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/398014
PURE UUID: 07e8fe31-bc71-4c0f-b01a-40e3f27a5f82
ORCID for Hameed Chughtai: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0001-6272-2250

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 14 Jul 2016 10:55
Last modified: 20 Jul 2019 00:34

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Contributors

Author: Hameed Chughtai ORCID iD
Editor: Elena Karahanna
Editor: Ananth Srinivasan
Editor: Bernard Tan

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