KATE LORD BROWN
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Ethnography, by its characteristics, has revealed a durable and interesting capacity to mediate the knowledge between different worlds, exploring cultural practices from the inside and in different settings.
However, recent changes have altered the way people communicate and how new technologies are being used for that purpose. For instance, the daily lives of people take place in different contexts, many of which are mediated through or linked to virtual spaces, where new forms of culture are being produced and reproduced. Given this, there is a vital need to research these new cultural settings and meanings, trying to analyse continuities and/or ruptures between those worlds involved.
In this context the classic model of single-site ethnography has been challenged and those challenges concern what means to be in the field , and they raise questions as to whether old concepts and actual perspectives in ethnography are an effective means to grasp the transformations of present cultures. We have had to question the accuracy of concepts that we have taken for granted, such as space, time, field, interaction, participant observation. New concepts have already emerged: netnography, online ethnography, cyber-ethnography, offline ethnography, digital ethnography, and we need to examine their usefulness. Do these changes mean that we are confronting a new type of ethnography, with new research tools needed, new types of empirical data to collect and new types of analysis to interpret situations?