Commoning Ethnography Call for Papers, Special Section: The Labours of Collaboration / by Ethnography Commons

Call for Papers, Special Section: The Labours of Collaboration

Issue 2 (2019) Commoning Ethnography

An explicitly collaborative ethnography has gained significant purchase within the field over the past few decades (i.e. Lassiter 2005). For different sorts of scholars this project has taken different forms and has had different kinds of politics. It foregrounds relationships in the field and also new kinds of ethnographic production in the form of films, artworks, exhibitions, and, often, traditional written texts. Although, ethnography has long been a collaborative research method (e.g. Rappaport 2008: 2), the kinds of inherent collaborations within ethnographic work were not always acknowledged as such nor were they given the kinds of central billing that new collaborative projects often emphasize. In this way, such projects often aim to undo (or at least unpack) the kinds of uneven knowledge hierarchies that have been foundational to ethnographic research since its outset. They also appear to offer new grounds for activist research (Hale 2008).

At the same time, a second form of collaboration has emerged in relation to the demands placed on researchers to manage large, multi-researcher grants. Sometimes these teams are necessitated as part of the process of anthropologists working in collaboration with scholars in the hard sciences. In other instances, these are teams of local and non-local scholars working together. Essentially, in this other form of ethnographic collaboration, two or more ethnographers work in the same space, co-creating (on multiple levels) ethnographic data and ethnographies.

Although different in character, ethics, and political aims, these forms of ethnographic collaboration raise important question about processes of knowledge production. For this Special Section of Issue 2 of Commoning Ethnography, we seek papers that engage with the changing nature of ethnographic collaboration on multiple levels. We ask for scholarship that critically unpacks what contemporary ethnographic collaborations look like and how they alter the inherent power dynamics of ethnographic research. We seek papers that reflect on innovative collaborations, both as research teams and with communities. In particular, we wish to engage with the relationship between collaboration and commoning as processes that shape the future of ethnographic labour – both within and beyond the academy.

Potential papers might address the questions raised by collaborative projects, including (but not limited to): questions of gender, racial, or class hierarchies within ethnographic research; divisions of epistemological labour; polemics for or against ethnographic collaboration/collaborative ethnography; collaborative poetics; the uneven distributions of risk and reward in ethnographic collaboration; the politics of collaboration; or methodological approaches to collaboration.

How to submit

Please submit abstracts (no more than 200 words) along with a short author bio to and by March 1, 2019. Once selected, full papers (6000 words) will be requested for review by July 1, 2019.

References Cited

Hale, Charlies R. 2008. Engaging Contradictions: Theory, Politics, and Methods of Activist Scholarship. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Lassiter, Erik Luke. 2005. The Chicago Guide to Collaborative Ethnography. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Rappaport, Joanne. 2008. Beyond Participant Observation: Collaborative Ethnography as Theoretical Innovation. Collaborative Anthropologies 1(1): 1-31.