Upcoming Events

The current list of events can be found at:


Past Events

Oxford Digital Ethnography Group
In 2016-17, OxDEG will meet on Wednesdays at 16:30 in weeks 3, 5, 7 of each term. Details of meetings to follow.

Trinity term 2016-2017

  • 10 May 2017: Thomas Hillman: title tbc
  • 24 May 2017: tbc
  • 7 June 2017: Dariusz Jemielniak and Magdalena Goralska: Open Collaboration Communities

Oxford Digital Ethnography Group
In 2016-27, OxDEG will meet on Wednesdays at 16:30 in weeks 3, 5, 7 of each term. Details of meetings to follow.

Michaelmas term 2016-2017

Hilary term 2016-2017

Oxford Digital Ethnography Group
Oxford Internet Institute, *1 St Giles*, Oxford, OX1 3JS
Date: 1 June 2016 (Wednesday, Week 6 of Trinity Term)
Time: 4:30 – 6:00
Speakers: David Zeitlyn (Institute of Social & Cultural Anthropology), Bernie Hogan (OII), Eric Meyer (OII)

Title: Anthropological Responses to the Idea of Big Data: a discussion

The panel will lead a discussion of what role ethnographic and other anthropological methods have in the context of Big Data research.

Oxford Digital Ethnography Group
Oxford Internet Institute, *1 St Giles*, Oxford, OX1 3JS
Date: 15 June 2016 (Wednesday, Week 8 of Trinity Term)
Time: 4:30 – 6:00
Speakers: An OII student will be speaking about his fieldwork-based research, and  David Peter Simonthen discussing the role of method in his approach.

David Simon (MSc student, OII): Out of sync: An ethnographically informed investigation into how different mHealth stakeholders understand efficiency in Kenya and Uganda

Digital Knowledge and Culture research cluster talk
Oxford Internet Institute, Seminar Room, 1 St Giles, Oxford, OX1 3JS
Date: 23 June 2016 (Thursday)
Time: 4:00 – 5:30
Speaker: Niels Brügger, Professor in Internet Studies and Digital Humanities, Aarhus University, Denmark, Head of the Centre for Internet Studies, and of NetLab. Niels is an Academic Visitor at the OII in May-June 2016

Niels BrüggerTitle: Web Historiography and Digital Humanities

Since the mid-1990s the web has become ever more important and indispensable for the communicative infrastructure of most societies, and in many people’s everyday lives. Thus, in the future the web of the past will be pivotal to our scholarly understanding of society at large after the mid-1990s. Although historical studies of the web as well as studies using the web of the past as a source are slowly emerging, no attempts have yet been made to systematically address the theoretical and methodological issues involved in web historiography, that is the writing of the history of the web and the use of the web as historical source.

In this presentation I shall present a conceptual framework for writing histories with the web as a source, or histories of the web. The presentation is based on the argument that with the web’s digitality—its specific way of being digital—and its inconsistent and messy nature when archived two interrelated shifts can be identified: the shift from historiography to web historiography and the shift from traditional humanities and digital humanities to digital humanities 2.0.

The talk will reflect the first steps of my work with the writing of the monograph Web Historiography and Digital Humanities (under contract with MIT Press) of which the chapter headings are: 1) Introduction: Digitality, mediacy and textuality, 2) The digital, Digital humanities, and the web, 3) The web and historiography, 4) Five analytical web strata, 5) The web as a historical source, 6) The web as an object of study, 7) Cases, 8) Digital research infrastructures. These heading will by and large also structure the talk.

Niels Brügger, Professor in Internet Studies and Digital Humanities, Aarhus University, Denmark, Head of the Centre for Internet Studies, and of NetLab. His research interests are web historiography, web archiving, and Digital Humanities. Recent books include Web History (ed., Peter Lang, 2010) and Histories of Public Service Broadcasters on the Web (co-ed. with M. Burns, Peter Lang 2012), and he is now editng a special issue of New Media & Society about the first 25 years of the Webs history, as well as the following forthcoming books: The Web as History: Using Web Archives to Understand the Past and the Present (co-ed. with R. Schroeder, UCL Press, 2016), Web 25: Histories from the first 25 Years of the World Wide Web (Peter Lang, 2017), and the Sage Handbook of Web History (co-ed. with M. Anderson & I. Milligan, Sage, 2017).

If you plan to attend this talk, please email your name and affiliation to or telephone +44 (0)1865 287210

Oxford Digital Ethnography Group
Oxford Internet Institute, *34 St Giles*, Oxford, OX1 3JS
Date: 18 May 2016 (Wednesday, Week 4 of Trinity Term)
Time: 4:30 – 6:00
Speaker: Juliano Spyer (of the Why We Post project coordinated by Professor Daniel Miller / PhD student at UCL) will be speaking about his fascinating research on social media in Brazil, which is part of his forthcoming book on the subject – ‘Social Media in Emergent Brazil’ (UCL Press 2016).

Title: The Facebook of Revelation: social media and pentecostalism’s effects on violence amongst low income Braziliansphoto

Abstract: Social media is frequently discussed in relation to its effects regarding politics – how it has transformed and/or diluted the impact of political activism, or how it has enhanced the possibilities of coordination to confront the powerful. This paper analyses social media in relation to how low income Brazilians that are not directly related deal with conflicts of interests. Crime and Protestantism are frequent elements interconnecting with the cases presented. The two cases discussed are related to violent events, to how the police deals with the people involved in these crimes, and especially how these occurrences are debated in a working class settlement in the Northeast region of Brazil. In particular, the paper will consider what kind of information about specific episodes appears openly on social media and what is reserved to the exchanges with trusted contacts. The analysis is part of a broader research project that examines how low income Brazilians are reshaping their social identities – coming from a historical position of segregation – via social media.

Oxford Digital Ethnography Group

Oxford Internet Institute, 34 St Giles, Oxford, OX1 3JS
Date: 9 February 2016 (Tuesday, Week 4 of Hilary Term)
Time: 4:30 – 6:00
Speaker: Amy Donovan Blondell, Visiting Research Fellow at the Department of International Development, Queen Elizabeth House

Title: Conducting Mixed Method and Ethnographic Research in the Digital Age: Using Mobile Phones and Geospatial Internet Technologies To Collaborate With Youth on the Move

Abstract: Historically, it has been challenging to do longitudinal research with migratory groups. In the United States, homeless young people are estimated to number as many as five million, and while they are considered a highly mobile population, little is known about the character of their mobility. Increasingly, in many U.S. cities, the enforcement of “quality of life” ordinances mean that homeless young people are harassed, receive citations, accumulate warrants, and are often dislocated and expelled by authorities for such activities as staying in boarded up buildings, camping in public parks, sleeping on the sidewalk, and for having pets without costly registration tags. For these, and other reasons, homeless youth often live “under the radar” and “off the grid”.

The health and safety risks of homeless young people are extremely high, when compared with their housed counterparts. Providers and outreach workers consider homeless young people difficult to reach and, even when they do access healthcare services, they are often lost to follow-up. In spite of police harassment, significant health burdens, and lack of financial resources, homeless young people often travel and relocate proactively. Walking, catching rides, hitchhiking, and hopping freight trains, they choose different destination locations for a variety of reasons.

The Youth Trek study piloted the use of mobile phones, in conjunction with survey and geospatial internet tools, collaborating with homeless young people for up to two years, to document their lives as they travelled. Through a method developed called “travelogueing”, participants incorporated documentary photography and photo essays, geography (mapped travel routes) and recorded geo-narratives, and personalized cartography to create rich textured travelogues describing their lives, challenges, and aspirations. These research approaches, which rely on mobile phone and internet technologies, not only enable an understanding of travel trajectories over time, but also offer a series of real time snapshots of life, introduced through the first person perspectives of youth.

Oxford Digital Ethnography Group

Oxford Internet Institute, 1 St Giles, Oxford, OX1 3JS
Date: 24 November 2015 (Tuesday, Week 7 of Michaelmas Term)
Time: 4:30 – 6:00
Speaker: Daniel Miller, Professor of Material Culture, UCL (web)


Title: Why We Post
Abstract: This paper reports on research by nine anthropologists who simultaneously carried out a collaborative 15 months ethnography on the use and consequences of social media in fieldsites ranging from the Syria-Turkey border, an IT complex in south India to both a factory and a rural town in China, a squatters settlement in Brazil, a mining town Chile, an English village and small towns in south Italy and Trinidad.

The focus will be on two issues: our definition of social media as `scalable sociality’, in contrast to prior media with its duality of the private and the public, and secondly the impact of a shift to visual communication. These have consequences for a broad range of issues such as enhanced conservatism, and both enhanced and reduced individualism, inequality and privacy. The paper will briefly discuss our theoretical structures that underlie this project such as the `theory of attainment’, and `polymedia’.

Oxford Digital Ethnography Group
Oxford Internet Institute, 1 St Giles, Oxford, OX1 3JS
Date: 10 November 2015 (Tuesday, Week 5 of Michaelmas Term)
Time: 4:30 – 6:00
Speaker: Dr Shireen Walton, School of Anthropology and Museum Ethnography, University of Oxford (web)

Title: Exploring Iran Online

Shireen WaltonAbstract: In this session, I will discuss my recently completed anthropology doctoral thesis: Camera Iranica: Popular Digital Photography in/of Iran. The topic explores the contemporary genre of popular digital photography, with a specific look at photographs taken in/of Iran by Iranian photobloggers and presented on photoblogs and social media platforms. The focus will be on the range of qualitative digital methods employed during the course of my research, including participatory digital-visual strategies that I developed with research participants in Iran and online, such as a digital photography exhibition as a method of transnational, collaborative research. The discussion concludes by reflecting upon what ethnographic approaches can teach us about how to critically regard and study digital images online with the people who make, circulate and view them in various social, political and visual contexts.

Oxford Digital Ethnography Group
Oxford Internet Institute, 1 St Giles, Oxford, OX1 3JS
Date: 27 October 2015 (Tuesday, Week 3 of Michaelmas Term)
Time: 4:30 – 6:00
Speaker: Dr Isis Hjorth, Researcher at the OII (web)

Title: Emerging conventions in digital ‘art worlds’: Production cultures of crowdsourced films

 Dr Isis HjorthIn the creative industries, artistic production is formalised through conventions guiding all aspects of the production processes, including the divisions of labour as well as audience and genre expectations. Over the past decade, new production models have begun emerging vis-à-vis networked technologies and online participatory cultures, notably novel ways of crowdsourcing knowledge (e.g. Wikipedia; citizen science projects) and culture. But how do heterogeneous groups of geographically dispersed volunteers (professionals and amateurs) collaborate in a networked fashion without established conventions to guide the cultural production? Drawing on a multiyear digital ethnography of an online filmmaking community, this session provides insights into production cultures enabling crowdsourced films. Specifically, the talk presents five distinct patterns of participant orientations, and account for the implications of these on the circulation and exchange of value (incl. social and symbolic capital) within and beyond the co-creation networks.

Oxford Digital Ethnography Group
Oxford Internet Institute, 1 St Giles, Oxford, OX1 3JS
Date: 03 June 2015 (Wednesday)
Time: 4:30 – 6:00

Speaker: Professor Lucy Suchman, Professor of Sociology and Anthropology, Lancaster University

Title: Immersive Simulation and (Con)figurations of the Other

Lucy Suchman

Abstract: This talk will set out the motivating questions and initial analytic framing of my research in progress on the problem of ‘situational awareness’ within contemporary forms of (particularly U.S.) warfare.  My focus is on the interfaces that configure war fighters to achieve ‘recognition’ of relevant subjects and objects, including the discriminations of us and them that are prerequisites for defensible killing. I’m interested more specifically in the complex relations of mediation and embodiment, distance and proximity, vulnerability and impunity that comprise contemporary configurations of warfare, as the virtual is infused with real figurations and has its own material effects, and the real environments of war fighting are increasingly virtual. The empirical basis for the project at the moment is the archive of Flatworld, an immersive training environment developed between 2001 and 2008 as the flagship project of the University of Southern California’s Institute for Creative Technologies. I read the project through a frame inspired by Judith Butler’s theoretical analysis of figuration’s generative agencies, to try to articulate further the simulation’s discursive and material effects.