back to home

Comparison as method

written by Anna Harris
06/02/18

MAASTRICHT, 17th January 2018 – As part of the weekly Maastricht University Science, Technology and Society Studies work-in-progress seminar, we presented our fieldwork-in progress, sharing with our research group our experiments in comparative ethnography. More details below.

 

Activity 2: Climb on a table or somewhere high and take a picture of one of the teaching or learning spaces

Comparison as method

In this WiP meeting we do not discuss a paper or presentation we are working on, but rather a methodological experiment in progress, one that aims to tickle the comparative approach used in a group project.

For the past three months we have been doing ethnographic fieldwork as part of the Making Clinical Sense project. The overarching project has obvious points of comparison. Three fieldsites, medical schools, in three different countries (Hungary, Ghana and the Netherlands) for a start. A historian, John Nott, has just joined the group, so there will be comparisons between the present and the past. And it was proposed in the grant application that we would focus on four pre-defined technologies, to aid the comparison across time and place.

Before embarking on fieldwork we introduced another form of, or strategy for, comparison, one we hoped would take us in unexpected or surprising directions. We designed a series of weekly activities. Each week during our fieldwork last year we performed the same activity at each of our fieldsites. Activities included re-enactments, drawings, sound recordings among others. The activities meant we saw glimpses of the others’ fieldsites, highlighting the similarities but also the specificities of local difference. Absences and presences we hadn’t considered became more visible. The activities forced us to consider our ethnographic habits, to see the site in ways we might not have previously. It also meant we had to make some of our fieldwork choices explicit, as well as spend time focusing on something we may not have given the time to. During all of this we started to calibrate to each other as researchers too.

Along with others in STS (Deville, Guggenheim and Hrdličková 2016) we would like to consider the practical act of comparison more carefully, to unpack it, to have fun with it and to question it. We are exploring the meaning of our experiments in comparison as one example of this, as well as what comparison means for the project more broadly, and would like to open that exploration to others in the MUSTS research group for feedback and ideas. With another period of fieldwork ahead of us we hope to discuss with you ways to focus our experiment, as well as open it up to possibilities we haven’t yet considered.

filter entries
Event

Time for tinkering

by Anna Harris
February 21, 2019
Event

How smart is “smart” technology?

by Andrea Wojcik
January 11, 2019
Materials

Tools of the teaching trade

by Sally Wyatt
January 10, 2019
Materials

Christmas yarn

by Anna Harris
December 24, 2018
Multimedia

Cooking classes

by Anna Harris
November 26, 2018
Inspiration

Barefeet

by Anna Harris
October 21, 2018
Inspiration

Letterheads

by Anna Harris
September 26, 2018
Inspiration

Postcards

by Anna Harris
September 16, 2018
Materials

Wax museum

by Rachel Allison
August 6, 2018
Publication

Expressive instructions

by Anna Harris
July 31, 2018
Inspiration

Writing resources

by Rachel Allison
July 23, 2018
Event

Meaning and beauty

by Rachel Allison
July 20, 2018
Conference

Correspondence

by Anna Harris
July 16, 2018
Materials

The allure of the archives

by John Nott
June 28, 2018
Event

Methods workshop at UDS

by Andrea Wojcik
May 23, 2018
Event

Probes

by Anna Harris
May 16, 2018
Article

Tricks

by Anna Harris
April 27, 2018
Writing workshop

Beyond the elevator

by Anna Harris
April 6, 2018
Conference

Simulating touch

by Anna Harris
March 27, 2018
Conference

Dancing, moving, unsettling

by Anna Harris
March 9, 2018
Event

Skillshare Writing Workshop

by Rachel Allison
February 25, 2018
Conference

STS in/on Africa

by John Nott
February 19, 2018
Article

A month together

February 8, 2018
Event

Comparison as method

by Anna Harris
February 6, 2018
Publication

Working with bias

by Anna Harris
January 19, 2018
Inspiration

Holiday reading

by Anna Harris
January 3, 2018
Materials

Modelling movement in medical education

by Andrea Wojcik
December 13, 2017
Conference

Embroider meet surgeon

by Anna Harris
October 30, 2017
Event

Sensing with medical students

by Anna Harris
October 9, 2017
Materials

Pagers

by Anna Harris
September 13, 2017

We are hiring!

September 5, 2017
Event

TransPositions Summer School 2017

September 4, 2017
Conference

Ethnographic Experimentation #Colleex

by Rachel Allison
August 7, 2017
Event

Making an omelette

by Sally Wyatt
July 21, 2017
Materials

Tuning forks and electronics

by Sally Wyatt
May 12, 2017
Event

Drawing Instruments

by Rachel Allison
March 20, 2017
Article

Experimenting with collaborative sensory ethnography

by Andrea Wojcik
March 16, 2017
Conference

A sensory training workshop

by Anna Harris
August 29, 2016
Loading