Submissions for a panel on ethnographic approaches to research on the commons (abstract below). If you are interested in joining the panel, please send your paper title and 250-word abstract to Cheryl Oldfield at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Panel submissions are due April 1, paper proposals by March 1.
Ethnographic Approaches to Studying the Commons: New Challenges and Opportunities
Co-organizers: Benjamin Jewell and Amber Wutich
Ethnographers have long recognized that research on the commons can be enriched by multi-method approaches. Classic techniques such as participant-observation and cultural domain analysis have contributed to rich ethnographic works on the commons and helped challenge widely held assumptions about the governance of common-pool resources. The incorporation of relatively new techniques--such as social networks and economic experiments--in ethnographic research presents an opportunity to revisit existing questions on the commons and explore new questions for emerging commons areas (e.g. urban and virtual commons). As governance institutions at various scales seek problem-oriented research to improve the management of complex socio-ecological systems, ethnographers are uniquely situated to participate through novel multi-method ethnographic approaches. To do so, ethnographers must negotiate the complexities of increasingly-popular collaborative, participatory and integrative approaches in commons-oriented research. This includes conveying the relevance of ethnography to interdisciplinary researchers, working with NGOs, engaging community partners, and sharing leadership with researchers from different disciplinary backgrounds. Each of the papers in this panel will use empirical data from their own ethnographic case studies to explore the challenges and opportunities posed by multi-method ethnography in commons-oriented research.