What exactly is the e.m.a.c. network?

It's a web of intersecting projects and the people who are behind it. Currently there are well-developed projects: (a) a series of a public ethnograpic projects created by RRU students; (b) a book series showcasing the latest development in public ethnography across disciplines; (c) a methodological book and companion website meant to teach how to make research more public. Many different individuals are behind these projects, and more are being created as you read these words. Besides being united by the will to push research beyond the ivory tower, these projects are brought together by an ethnographic inspiration, artistic sensibility, a focus on social/cultural issues, and the willing ness to work with "alternative" media for research dissemination.

Why a "network"?

We want to concern ourselves with actions, with practices, with projects, with intersecting interests. That is what a network is. A network differs from other common types of groups. Very often groups like "centers," "institutions," and "organizations," become caught up in bureaucracy, in maintaining structure, in policing boundaries and membership. As a network our boundaries and identity are fuzzy, thus free to evolve and grow. As a network we have nodes, lines of flight, but no centers--no heads or directors. We want to be extemporaneous, light, free to change, unstructured.   

What do we mean by ethnography?

By ethnography we mean the in-depth study of people’s ways of life, of cultures. There are many different kinds of ethnography but in its most basic terms ethnography is research focused on describing and understanding social life from the perspective of the people who take part in it. Besides putting themselves in the shoes of the people whose ways of life they study, ethnographers work differently from most other researchers in virtue of other qualities of their research, such as its ability to portray people, places, and times in vividly descriptive detail, and its emphasis on the researcher’s immediate and direct involvement with, participation in, and experience of the lifeworld object of study. Recent trends in ethnography have further honed these qualities, emphasizing the narrative, sensuous, embodied, participatory, confessional, impressionistic, and interpretive value of this form of research. By ethnography, therefore, we further mean here a type of research that—not unlike conceptual art—imaginatively enlivens and animates lifeworlds, evoking cultural dynamics that creatively render the strange familiar, and the familiar strange.

What is public ethnography?

Simply put, it's ethnography created for a broad audience. Ethnography, we believe, is endowed with rhetorical and substantive characteristics that are of great appeal to the general public. Nowadays, rather than in an exclusively print-based world, we believe that public ethnography can thrive in a public domain inspired and informed by diverse popular media, genres, and communication modes. When carried out with the information and entertainment needs and wants of the public in mind, ethnographic research can reach beyond the confines of academic discourse and can position social scientific knowledge at the nexus of public debate, current affairs, and popular culture. Through a fully public ethnography social scientific research can better engage multiple stakeholders and play a key role in the critical pedagogy of the general public.

What is the need for public ethnography?

There are arguably more students learning the language of the social sciences today than there are journalists, documentarians, think-tank researchers, and policy pundits combined. And there are probably more professional researchers writing scholarly monographs and articles on social issues than there authors penning trade books and paperbacks on the same subjects. Yet, neither social science students nor professional social scientists are particularly apt at speaking the language of the many publics they study and at speaking louder and more clearly than their better known “pop” counterparts. We view this as a missed opportunity for the social sciences. We indeed view this as a great opportunity for the new public scholarship of the future.

Who are we?

We are a network of people who share a vision on the meaning and value of public ethnography. We call ourselves the ethnography.arts.media.culture. network. We are not an institute, or a center, or an organization. We exist as a loose collective thanks to the assistance of the Canada Research Chair program, which funds a Royal Roads University 5-year, $500,000 research chair--assigned to Prof. Phillip Vannini--in Innovative Learning and Public Ethnography. We are just individuals pursuing our own vastly different research and career goals through our own projects. We don't have membership forms or fees. You don't need recommendations to join us. You just need to do something good for public ethnography. Then get a hold of us.

Who is actually behind these pages?

Mostly a handful of students from the RRU MA program in intercultural and international communication and one of their profs. In alphabetical order, Laura Milne, Jonathan Taggart, and Lindsay Vogan are the main creators of these sites. Darcy Turenne also helped us out with things like the logo design, the opening video, and with lots of photography. At Royal Roads Paul Ripley managed the technology on which the project rests, and the Research Office provided support and advice. Cheryl Takayashi--better known as Shirley the Designtist--was our programmer and web architect. Phillip Vannini worked on the blueprint and the content. And Kate O'Rourke is currently updating and editing the sites.

Check out useful EMAC resources