Roskilde Universitet
Kommunikationsvej 1,
Bygning 42.3
4000 Roskilde

Tlf: 46 74 26 92
Chris Holmsted Larsen

Tlf: 46 74 38 08
Kim Christian Schrøder


FMKJ er en national forskerskole, der:
• Arrangerer ph.d.-kurser på
- internationalt niveau,
• Er vært for internationale
- gæsteforskere,
• Uddeler stipendier til skolens
- studerende,
• Har indstillingsret til
- Forskningsrådet for Kultur og
- Kommunikation.

Media Ethnography: Theory and Practice

Dates:  9-11 June 2010         


Course venue: Pappersbruket, Osby, Southern Sweden.

The course will take place at Pappersbruket, Broby, Southern Sweden (see Accommodation and Ph.D. seminar will all be at the same venue. Transport by train is estimated to take 1 hour and 45 minutes from Copenhagen Central Station.


Co-directors:  Dr. Debra Spitulnik (Emory University) and Dr. Thomas Tufte (Roskilde University)



Course description:


This short course is designed to introduce Ph.D. students to the theory and practice of media ethnography.  We explore how media ethnography applies to both media production and media reception, and how it is fundamentally both a theory and a method for investigating everyday practices and lived experiences as they are shaped by culturally-specific ways of being-in-the world.  Media to be considered include:  television, film, radio, newspapers, and new media.  The course will begin with a brief overview of the history of ethnographic approaches within media studies and cultural studies, which dates back to the mid 1980s.  We then engage more recent scholarship within media anthropology, focusing specifically on three dimensions of ethnography: 


(a) as fieldwork method;

(b) as anthropological lens, and

(c) as a method of writing and re-presentation. 


While all 5 speakers will speak, so will the participating Ph.D. students. All students are encouraged to present a media ethnographical dimension of their Ph.D project reflecting on one or more of the three above mentioned approaches to media ethnography. The students will furthermore have the opportunity to conduct a mini-ethnography assignment amongst families in a small village in the Swedish woods, in which they practice doing participant-observation fieldwork, field note-taking, and writing with vivid ethnographic textures. 





Dr. Jo Helle Valle, Senior Researcher, Nat’l Institute for Consumer Research, Oslo, Norway

Dr. Debra Spitulnik, Associate Professor, Emory University, USA

Dr. Thomas Tufte, Professor, Roskilde University, Denmark

Dr. John Postill, C3 Research Institute, Sheffield Hallam University, UK

Associate Professor Jo Tacchi, Creative Industries Faculty, Queensland University of  Technology, Australia




Bram Hendrawan

Meltem Acartürk

Johanna Stenersen

María Florencia Enghel

Rikke Hostrup Haugbølle

Siri Lamoureaux

Grace Githaiga

Rose Reuben

Jacob Thorsen

Helena Nassif

Nanna Thorsteinsson Schneidermann

Maria Inês Pereira Torcato David

Maja Rudloff




Reader and table of contents


Abu-Lughod: Interpretation of Culture(s) after Television (1997)

Spitulnik: Mobile Machines (2002)

Spitulnik: Personal News – Public Service (2009)

Spitulnik: Thick Context (in press)

Baisnee Marchetti: Economy of Just-in-Time TV Newscasting (2006)

Schrøder et al: Researching Audiences

Tufte: Gauchos Going Global (2001)

Tufte et al: Rituals in the modern world (2003)

Flyvbjerg: Five misunderstandings about Case-study research (2007)

Helle-valle et. al: Media, identity and methodology (2008)

Tacchi et al: Action Research and new media (2009)

Tacchi et al: EAR Ethnographic Action Research – handbook (2007)

Boellstorff: The subject and the scope of this inquiry (2008)

Postill: An internet field (fourthcoming)


Optional readings

Tacchi: Radio and Affective Rhythm in the Everyday (2009)

Tacchi et al: Participatory Content Creation (2009) 

Peterson: Whatever happened to the Anthropology of Media? (2003)

Spitulnik: Anthropology and Mass Media (1993)

Postill: Researching the Internet. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute (in press, September 2010)

Helle-Valle: Language-games, in/dividuals and media uses (2010) 












Wednesday 9 June

Thursday 10 June

Friday 11 June


Morning 1






Thomas Tufte and Debra Spitulnik:  Introduction


Debra Spitulnik:  Theory and Practice of Media Ethnography: Epistemologies, Zones of Analysis, and Intellectual Histories



Student presentations and discussions


Processing the Fieldwork Experience






Morning 2


Thomas Tufte:  Integrating Diachronic and Synchronic Approaches in Media Ethnography (Brazil)



Jo Tacchi:  Practical Skills Training & Fieldwork Exercise



Student presentations






Afternoon 1


Student presentations and discussions



Relocation to Lädja


John Postill :  Internet Ethnography



15.00-15.15 Coffee/Tea

15.00  Arrival at Lädja and brief joint meeting


15 Hrs: Coffee/Tea

Afternoon 2


Jo Helle Valle:  Balancing Everyday Life’s Complexity with Analytical Clarity: Methodological Considerations (Botswana; Norway)



Review of the day



Media Ethnography Fieldwork in neighboring town of Lädja

15.15 Closing Panel with lecturers


Departure at 16 hrs


Dinner at 19 hrs

Dinner with families.

Relocation back to Pappersbruket.














Monday 3 May 2010, to the FMKJ Secretary at The application must be accompanied by a 2-page PhD project description.


Participants who want to present a paper must submit this paper by 31 May 2010.



The Danish Research School FMKJ covers all participation expenses (travel, meals, accommodation) for doctoral students who are enrolled in the School. Doctoral students from other institutions will have to pay their own travel, accommodation and meals, while participation in the course is free of charge. Accommodation (hotel) and meals are estimated at app. DKK 3000. A deposit of this amount will be invoiced to non-FMKJ ph.d. students soon after registration in order to cover the organizers’ liability to the course venue.

ECTS: 3 ECTS (with paper presentation), 1½ ECTS without presentation.


Participant Requirements

A course package of required readings will be compiled and circulated to participants 3-4 weeks prior to the course.  The participants are required to read the full package of scholarly texts and to take an active part in discussing them, under the direction of the course leader.  For the research design workshops on Day 3, all participants must hand in (upon registration) a 2-page description of their Ph.D. project, emphasizing its relation to the course area.

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