Deborah Jackson

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Sociology/Anthropology, and Environmental Studies
Earlham College

Materials Contributed through SERC-hosted Projects

Activity

Cyber-Mediated Ethnography: The Next Best Thing to Being There part of Integrate:Workshops:Teaching Environmental Justice: Interdisciplinary Approaches:Activities
This research project is inspired by ethnography: that is, spending an extended period of time in a community, interacting with people, consuming the local media, attending gatherings, interviewing individuals, and generally observing and participating in the experiences and circumstances of community members. Since actual ethnography is not possible in most classes, I have developed a technique I call "cyber-mediated ethnography" to replicate as closely as possible the kinds of interactions and experiences that characterize actual ethnographic research. For this activity, students access websites, weblogs, facebook, twitter, and podcasts of government agencies, environmental groups, scientific research organizations, industrial corporations, and media outlets to gain a sense of how environmental problems are being portrayed, perpetuated, and protested within various locales and communities. Through email and telephone, students can engage in conversations and conduct interviews. And with benefit of Google Earth technology, they can survey the area visually and even drive down the streets of the locale they are studying. The advantage of these on-line resources and communications, and what makes them a form of ethnography, is that they capture the look of the place, the ways in which local individuals and groups present themselves and respond to others, the degree and type of knowledge available to them, and the general climate of the community with regard to the issue being studied (in this case, environmental injustices). In these ways, cyber-mediated ethnography captures at least some of the sense of living in a community that characterizes actual ethnography; and in this way truly is the next best thing to being there.

Essays (2)

Some of us are more "in it" than others part of Integrate:Workshops:Teaching Environmental Justice: Interdisciplinary Approaches:Essays
Deborah Jackson, , Earlham College In Southwestern Ontario, just across the St. Clair River from Michigan's "Thumb," is the largest concentration of petrochemical plants, refineries, and related ...

Some of us are more "in it" than others part of Integrate:Workshops:Teaching Environmental Justice: Interdisciplinary Approaches:Essays
Deborah Jackson, , Earlham College In Southwestern Ontario, just across the St. Clair River from Michigan's "Thumb" region, is the largest concentration of petrochemical plants, refineries, and ...


Events and Communities

InTeGrate Environmental Justice Workshop