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Articles

Vol. 2 No. 1 (2020): Doing Digital Ethnography: Private Messages from the Field

Digital media ethnographers on the move – An unexpected proposal

  • Johanna Sumiala
  • Minttu Tikka
DOI
https://doi.org/10.33621/jdsr.v2i1.37
Submitted
February 14, 2020
Published
2020-02-17

Abstract

This article explores what digital media ethnography as a methodological approach can offer to the study of contiguous media events with an unexpected, violent and fluid nature. Emphasising the role of media events in the present organisation of social life, we as digital media anthropologists acknowledge the tendency in the current digital media environment to eventise and spectacularise social life. This development serves the power-related purposes of attention seeking and public recognition in the digital world. The article is structured as follows: first, we provide a brief outline of the field of digital media ethnography in relation to the study of media event; second, we identify what we claim are three key methodological dilemmas in applying digital media ethnography to the study of today’s digitally circulating media events (scale, mobility and agency) and reflect on them in the context of our methodological positioning; third, we conclude this article by considering some epistemological and ontological implications of this methodological endeavour in relation to what can be called the ‘meta-field’ and the related instability in current digital research.