In this article, I will discuss how my own work on a project called "Hypermedia Berlin"—a Web-based study of Berlin's "cultural geography"—can be situated in a lineage that goes back to Hoffmann's reflection on media and represents another instantiation of what Hinrich Seeba has called "Berlin" as a site for the development of new cultural-critical methodologies for interdisciplinary German Studies.
Todd Samuel Presner
The articles in this special issue show how a theoretical approach informed by the mobilities turn can reveal new facets of the history of dangerous mobility. This afterword draws together some of these lessons concerning materialities, bodily sensations, and performativity, and then considers how we might study these aspects of danger and mobility from an international, comparative, and historical methodological perspective.
An Interview with Reinhart Koselleck
Javiér Fernández Sebastián, Juan Francisco Fuentes and Reinhart Koselleck
Among the many subjects you have worked on throughout your career, we would like to concentrate on those related to the methodology of intellectual history, especially conceptual history. We will then go on to make you a few questions about your recent work on memory and identity.
This article looks at current university reforms in Japan through two slightly different social science prisms: how social science methodologies and theories can help us understand those reforms better and how social science teaching in universities will be affected by the current reform processes.
The Internet in Everyday Life in Irish Households
This paper presents a study of Irish households, the internet and everyday life. Social studies of technology draw heavily from anthropology, not only in ethnographic methodologies but also in the ways in which such data can be understood and interpreted within the contexts of everyday life. To achieve this, the concept of the domestication of (media) technologies has been developed to describe and analyse the processes of technology's acceptance, rejection and use. Domestication is employed as a structural and analytical framework to achieve an empirical understanding of the domestic user. Based on a critical analysis from an anthropological perspective, the paper will revise the original domestication of the concept of technology. The notion of technological black boxes and I-methodology strategies are critiqued. This paper calls for users to be conceptualised as active agents in the overall design process and not as just end users who become active once the artefact has become commodified.
Perspectives on U.K. and Mexican Participatory Artists' Processes for Catalysing Change, and Facilitating Health and Flourishing
This article reports new ethnographic research exploring community-based, participatory arts practice in Northern England and Mexico City. Noting the value of an ethnographic approach, the study investigated whether commonalities discovered in practitioners' approaches are significant enough to constitute a generalisable participatory arts methodology, transcending significant contextual differences, and recognisable across national boundaries.
Shared characteristics emerged in practitioners' modes of engagement with groups, and strategies for catalysing change; clear convergences from which a core methodology in community-based participatory arts for change is distilled. It suggests the opening of liminal spaces in which participants can reflect, rehearsing fresh ways of engaging in transformative dialogues in relation to the world in which they live. This article presents the study findings as a grounded characterisation of 'participatory arts practice': a complex but potentially powerful mechanism, in use within numerous community health projects, and evident in diverse settings, despite little or no exchange of ideas between practitioners.
Ethnographic Insights from Senegal
Diane Duclos, Sylvain L. Faye, Tidiane Ndoye and Loveday Penn-Kekana
The notion of performance has become dominant in health programming, whether being embodied through pay-for-performance schemes or through other incentive-based interventions. In this article, we seek to unpack the idea of performance and performing in a dialogical fashion between field-based evaluation findings and methodological considerations. We draw on episodes where methodological reflections on performing ethnography in the field of global health intersect with findings from the everyday practices of working under performance-based contracts in the Senegalese supply chain for family planning. While process evaluations can be used to understand contextual factors influencing the implementation of an intervention, we as anthropologists in and of contemporary global health have an imperative to explore and challenge categories of knowledge and practice. Making room for new spaces of possibilities to emerge means locating anthropology within qualitative global health research.
Case Studies from West Africa
Emilie Venables and Umberto Pellecchia
The articles in this special issue demonstrate, through ethnographic fieldwork and observations, how anthropologists and the methodological tools of their discipline became a means of understanding the Ebola outbreak in West Africa during 2014 and 2015. The examples, from Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone, show how anthropologists were involved in the Ebola outbreak at different points during the crisis and the contributions their work made. Discussing issues including health promotion, gender, quarantine and Ebola survivors, the authors show the diverse roles played by anthropologists and the different ways in which they made use of the tools of their discipline. The case studies draw upon the ethical, methodological and logistical challenges of conducting fieldwork during a crisis such as this one and offer reflections upon the role of anthropology in this context.
Since its inception, the discipline of International Relations has struggled to establish the rigour of its methodological base in the academy, and it has struggled to establish whether and how it might have any moral place in the world. At the end of the millennium both struggles have reached a high point. Methodologically, the discipline has begun a trans-Atlantic separation. On the one hand there has been a U.S. emphasis on neo-realism and neo-liberalism, which in both its categorisations and its positivistic tendencies is not a considerable departure from the inter-war debate between realists and idealists. On the other hand there has been a British concern not only for a ‘historicised’ discipline, but for the intellectual history of the discipline itself. Steve Smith has written on ten self-images that International Relations has held.
Stephen Welch and Ruth Wittlinger
The aim of this paper is to offer a critique of the proposal of “methodological cosmopolitanism“ in theoretical terms and to substantiate this critique by providing an account of the dynamics of collective memory and identity in postunification Germany. In the first part, we look at the arguments about methodological cosmopolitanism and their derivative, the idea of cosmopolitan memory, illustrated by the case of Holocaust memory. In the second part we look at the case of Germany: firstly at its postwar experience of the attempted construction of “postnational“ identity, and then at more recent trends, contemporaneous with the Berlin Republic, towards a “normalization“ of national identity in Germany. The Holocaust plays a crucial, but different, role in each phase, we suggest. In the conclusion we return to more general themes, asking what the German case tells us about the cosmopolitanization thesis more generally.