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Research Articles

Linking Internet Texts and Practices: Challenges and Opportunities of Interdisciplinarity in an Ethnographically Inspired Study of ‘Local Content’

Author:

Tori Holmes

Queen’s University Belfast
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Abstract

Ethnographic and ethnographically inspired approaches are becoming increasingly popular in studies of digital media and digital culture, and are being used by scholars from a variety of disciplinary backgrounds, as well as in interdisciplinary projects. Nonetheless, specific methodological tensions and dilemmas can arise in the encounter between different research traditions. One area of such tension relates to how texts are approached, and how they are linked to other types of data. This article reports on related methodological questions which arose in interdisciplinary research into how residents of a favela, or shantytown, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil used the internet, and particularly blogs, to represent the area where they lived. Overall the article argues that the interdisciplinary nature of the research provided an opportunity to adapt and develop methodological concepts and approaches from different traditions (including anthropology, internet ethnography, new literacy studies and internet studies) in response to the characteristics of the field site. These were brought together in the idea of ‘following the content’, which also included the concept of the ‘content event’, inspired by new literacy studies and employed to connect texts and practices.
How to Cite: Holmes, T., (2013). Linking Internet Texts and Practices: Challenges and Opportunities of Interdisciplinarity in an Ethnographically Inspired Study of ‘Local Content’. Westminster Papers in Communication and Culture. 9(3), pp.121–142. DOI: http://doi.org/10.16997/wpcc.176
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Published on 01 Dec 2013.
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