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Summer 2024 | Cologne-Siegen Masterclass for Media Ethnography

Camera Ethnography. Filming as an epistemic practice with Bina Elisabeth Mohn

Extended registration deadline: May 31, 2024.

Contact and registration: wiesemann@erz-wiss.uni-siegen.de

Venue: US-S 001 / 002 (Obergraben 25), Campus Lower Castle, University of Siegen

Thursday, 27 June 2024, 14:00-19:00 | Friday June 28, 2024, 9:00-13:00

About the master class

This master class aims to experience the experimental approach of camera ethnography and to try out arranging research (with reference to Wittgenstein) together, referring to the diversity of research fields that will be represented in the workshop. Participants are encouraged to bring some of their research material to this workshop.

Filming as an epistemic practice
In our everyday use of media, we believe that we can capture something with a camera and share it. However, if we assume that the goal of the research is to get beyond the state of what is known and seen so far, then we are dealing with epistemic things that are not yet visible at first and, therefore, cannot just be recorded with a camera. With this consideration, Bina E. Mohn, the founder of camera ethnography, refers to the sociological laboratory studies of the 1980s and 1990s. Starting from a premise of the not (yet) visible marks the departure from strategies of camera use that assume visibility exists a priori. Camera ethnography offers a manageable representation-critical approach based on a situated methodology and can be understood as a continuous reflexive process of working on visibility and seeing. Camera ethnography is particularly important to studying nonverbal practices and socio-material constellations. Furthermore, camera ethnography is particularly suitable for adoption of the format “übersichtliche Darstellung” (Wittgenstein): In this context, filmic arrangements serve as an attempt to answer the question of how social practices can be lived, named, and understood here and now, and there and then. For viewers of camera-ethnographic publications, this offers an opportunity to discover unexpected things about the diversity and possibility of social phenomena and practices.

The essential book by Bina E. Mohn „Kamera-Ethnographie. Ethnographische Forschung im Modus des Zeigens. Programmatik und Praxis“ has been published in 2023, is open access and underpins this master class. Important references of the camera-ethnographic approach include Bruno Latour (science-in-the-making), Karin Knorr-Cetina (epistemic cultures), Hans-Jörg Rheinberger (experimental systems), Clifford Geertz (“thick description”), Ludwig Wittgenstein (language games and “übersichtliche Darstellung”), and Karen Barad (agential realism and intra-action).

Registration for the master class

Contact and registration: wiesemann@erz-wiss.uni-siegen.de

Extended registration deadline: May 31, 2024.

Participation is free of charge and lunch and dinner will be provided.

Please briefly answer these questions when registering:

  • Which research project am I currently working on, and which practices in this field interest me?
  • What questions do I have about media ethnographic theory and practice?
  • Which materials would I like to bring to the master class on camera ethnography?

Bina will be available to make more detailed arrangements with each of you via telephone.

Requirements for participation:

  • Experience in ethnographic fieldwork, regardless of the medium
  • Readiness to change perspectives and media and to experiment.

In advance:

individual telephone conversation to discuss reference to your project and materials.


Master & PhD S&C Anthropology at DoSCA (UoC)

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