Edited by Russell W. Belk
Chapter 37: The Emergence of Multi-Sited Ethnography in Anthropology and Marketing
Karin M. Ekström1 Although multi-sited ethnography is an exercise in mapping terrain, its goal is not holistic representation, an ethnographic portrayal of the world system as a totality. Rather, it claims that any ethnography of a cultural formation in the world system is also an ethnography of the system, and therefore cannot be understood only in terms of the conventional single-site miseen-scène of ethnographic research, assuming indeed it is the cultural formation, produced in several diﬀerent locales, rather than the conditions of a particular set of subjects that is the object of study. (Marcus, 1998, p. 83) 1 Introduction Ethnography has traditionally involved spending a long time in a remote location far away from home, seeking a deeper cultural understanding of a certain phenomenon. Recently, or more speciﬁcally since about the mid-1980s, there has been a paradigm shift in anthropology. It has stimulated a discussion about representation of the ﬁeld as well as the researcher and has led to new ways of seeking knowledge (e.g., Gupta and Ferguson, 1997). New ways of conducting ethnography have been introduced, and today multi-sited ethnography challenges the long-established approach for conducting ethnographic ﬁeldwork. Rather than focusing on one location, ﬁeldwork can now be conducted in a number of sites. Although ﬁeldwork has historically been an imperative ingredient for the deﬁnition of anthropology and ethnography, the change to multiple sites has not occurred without opposition. Some researchers express their concern regarding the direction that the discipline of anthropology is leading...
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