Ethnography by Design: Scenographic Experiments in Fieldwork

by Christine Hegel, Luke Cantarella, George E. Marcus, Bloomsbury Press, forthcoming in 2019.
ethnography by design Book-length investigations into how ethnography can be done usually focus on pragmatic guidance on how to identify informants, conduct interviews, and write field notes. Ethnography by Design instead focuses on the benefits of sustained collaboration, across projects, to ethnographic enquiry, and the possibilities of experimental co-design as part of field research. The book translates specifically scenic design practices, which include processes like speculation, materialization, and iteration, and applies them to ethnographic inquiry, emphasizing both the value of design studio processes and "designed" field encounters. The authors make it clear that design studio practices allow ethnographers to ask and develop very different questions within their own and others' research and thus, design also offers a framework for shaping the conditions of encounter in ways that make anthropological suppositions tangible and visually apparent.

Written by two anthropologists and a designer, and based on their experience of their collective endeavours during three projects, George Marcus, Christine Hegel and Luke Canterella examine their works as a way to continue a broader inquiry into what the practice of ethnography can be in the 21st century, and how any project distinctively moves beyond standard perspectives through its crafted modes of participation and engagement.


Collaborative Anthropology: a Collection of Exceptions

edited by Dominic Boyer and George E. Marcus, Cornell University Press, forthcoming in 2019.


Theory Can Be More Than It Used to Be: Learning Anthropology's Method in a Time of Transition

edited by Dominic, Boyer, James Faubion, and George  Marcus, Cornell University Press, 2015.


Within anthropology, as elsewhere in the human sciences, there is a tendency to divide knowledge making into two separate poles: conceptual (theory) vs. empirical (ethnography). In Theory Can Be More than It Used to Be, Dominic Boyer, James D. Faubion, and George E. Marcus argue that we need to take a step back from the assumption that we know what theory is to investigate how theory—a matter of concepts, of analytic practice, of medium of value, of professional ideology—operates in anthropology and related fields today. They have assembled a distinguished group of scholars to diagnose the state of the theory-ethnography divide in anthropology today and to explore alternative modes of analytical and pedagogical practice.

Continuing the methodological insights provided in Fieldwork Is Not What It Used to Be, the contributors to this volume find that now is an optimal time to reflect on the status of theory in relation to ethnographic research in anthropology and kindred disciplines. Together they engage with questions such as, What passes for theory in anthropology and the human sciences today and why? What is theory's relation to ethnography? How are students trained to identify and respect anthropological theorization and how do they practice theoretical work in their later career stages? What theoretical experiments, languages, and institutions are available to the human sciences? Throughout, the editors and authors consider theory in practical terms, rather than as an amorphous set of ideas, an esoteric discourse of power, a norm of intellectual life, or an infinitely contestable canon of texts. A short editorial afterword explores alternative ethics and institutions of pedagogy and training in theory.


Fieldwork Is Not What It Used to Be: Learning Anthropology's Method in a Time of Transition

edited by James Faubion and George E. Marcus, Cornell University Press, 2009.
field Over the past two decades anthropologists have been challenged to rethink the nature of ethnographic research, the meaning of fieldwork, and the role of ethnographers. Ethnographic fieldwork has cultural, social, and political ramifications that have been much discussed and acted upon, but the training of ethnographers still follows a very traditional pattern; this volume engages and takes its point of departure in the experiences of ethnographers-in-the-making that encourage alternative models for professional training in fieldwork and its intellectual contexts.The work done by contributors to Fieldwork Is Not What It Used to Be articulates, at the strategic point of career-making research, features of this transformation in progress. Setting aside traditional anxieties about ethnographic authority, the authors revisit fieldwork with fresh initiative. In search of better understandings of the contemporary research process itself, they assess the current terms of the engagement of fieldworkers with their subjects, address the constructive, open-ended forms by which the conclusions of fieldwork might take shape, and offer an accurate and useful description of what it means to become—and to be—an anthropologist today.


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