Week 5 weekly thoughts

Wall Door Ark Rampart Creative Commons Zero – CC0.

This week has been about ways of inhabiting and mapping spaces, about how text and language constitute community within them, inflected by affording mediating technologies. I’ve been dwelling in the ‘habitable sphere’ Hine mentions (2011) and Bayne’s ‘smooth space’ (2004).

My lifestream has automagically become a house with decorated walls; friendly, permeable dividers which delineate my area within the EDC community. The soundtrack has featured doors banging, voices and footsteps sounding and receding as fellow-students come and go. I’ve met them in various technologies and Eli has adorned our public place with a map of the physical sphere with our habitations marked upon it.

Friends have dropped by and I’ve popped out to graffiti other walls. I’ve relocated to my mooc space, noting tensions about travel. It’s a more structured and less penetrable lodging, where, as I spend more active engagement and lurker time, I’m getting to chart more of the territory. All the while, my lifestream pad has been getting increasingly untidy, littered with tweets which need gathering and sorting and full of uncommented posts which I’d be embarrassed for anyone to see before I’ve tidied up.

In all spaces I have been considering observation and perception – thoughts muddled with the phenomenology I’ve been reading about in the mooc – being both perceiver and documenter. Thoughts about whether phenomenology might help with the postmodern ethnographer’s crisis involving ‘reconsiderations of the nature of representation, description, subjectivity, objectivity …’ (Hine, 2000, quoting Marcus) or hinder it, or just stop where it is, examining my confusion …

Like a binary star, the subjective and objective orbit each other

(Mooc leader, Professor Dan Lloyd, Trinity College)

Hine, C. (2011) The Sage Handbook of Online Research Methods, Virtual Ethnography: Modes, Varieties, Affordances. Sage Publications Ltd. https://mr.crossref.org/iPage?doi=10.4135%2F9780857020055

Hine, C. (2000). The virtual objects of ethnography, Chapter 3 of Virtual Ethnography. London: Sage. pp. 41-66

Bayne, S. (2004). Smoothness and Striation in Digital Learning Spaces, E-Learning and Digital Media. Vol 1(2).  pp. 302 – 316

2 thoughts on “Week 5 weekly thoughts

  1. jknox

    Well done for keeping up with your lifestream Cathy, it is shaping up really nicely!

    Super to see you rounding up the week with ideas about the spatial qualities of online courses (and communities). Perhaps this is a useful accompaniment to your previous interest in time? I certainly think that ‘space’ has been the dominant framing of the digital, whereas not so many people have conceived of it in terms of time (perhaps mainly as the acceleration of life).

    ‘My lifestream has automagically become a house’

    Interesting to see a domestic metaphor here. Why that, I wonder, rather than the ‘institution’? Les formal perhaps? Or more to do with ‘dwelling’ – spending prolonged time in a particular place, is this an aspect of ‘authentic’ community?

    I thought your post on the tensions of travel was great too. We’re experiencing the dilemmas of being a researcher (in public) with this task, so we need to think carefully about the responsibilities that this role entails, as well as our confidence in the ability to take the position of ‘documenting’.

    ‘In all spaces I have been considering observation and perception – thoughts muddled with the phenomenology I’ve been reading about in the mood’

    Sounds fascinating, and perhaps something to continue developing?

  2. chills Post author

    Thank you for your comments Jeremy. I don’t think I had conceived of the house analogy as being overtly domestic – I needed somewhere with walls but which expressed less formality and constraint than an institution. But I guess you are right because ‘less formal’ could be ‘homely’.

    I’m still thinking about subjectivity and objectivity, but might explore that a bit more in my netnography.


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