Fieldwork through the Zoomiverse: Sensing Uganda in a Time of Immobility.

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Date: Spring 2021
From: Anthropology in Action(Vol. 28, Issue 1)
Publisher: Berghahn Books, Inc.
Document Type: Article
Length: 4,279 words
Lexile Measure: 1720L

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Abstract :

We have been conducting collaborative ethnographic research together for over 20 years. Over the past 12 months, this collaboration has included face-to-face encounters, both in Kampala, Uganda, and in Perth, Australia. However, since the advent of COVID-19-related 'lockdowns' in our respective countries, our engagements have been conducted exclusively over online platforms, including WhatsApp, Facebook and--increasingly--Zoom. In this article, we reflect upon our shared experience of conducting ethnography through this platform as a tool for understanding the effects of the pandemic in Uganda. We argue that, despite all kinds of material constraints (at both ends), Zoom has much to offer the ethnographer particularly because it can generate an intimate understanding of experience and time. However, against this advantage, some aspects of social life remain beyond the range of its channels, for which an assemblage of additional methods are required. We finish by reflecting upon what these methods have contributed to our long-term study of emergent cultures of mobility in Uganda--a study which is now being conducted in an ostensible context of immobility. KEYWORDS: anthropology of roads, COVID-19, cultures of mobility, ethnographic intimacy, Uganda, virtual methods, Zoom

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Source Citation   

Gale Document Number: GALE|A653470112