Reflections on the Dartmouth Seminar – Days 1 & 2

Things to Consider:

1.  Look into the methodological work that’s already been done on digital ethnography.  Who are the major voices?  What works have been key in establishing this method of inquiry?  Beyond the ethical treatments and discussions of digital ethnography found in the work of McKee & Devoss’ collection Digital Writing Research and embodied by Gurak’s Persuasion and Privacy in Cyberspace what other works discuss digital ethnography in detail.

2.  Apparently I’m involved in doing ethnographic, historical-narrative, records-based research.  Case selection is based on a small-N model (6ish sites).  I’m interested in doing grounded theory as I want the epistemological frameworks of my researched digital entities to determine the kinds of categories that develop out of the analysis; however, I’m interested in trying to connect those grounded categories with the theoretic-analytic frameworks that I find in the dominant copyright/IP theory in Law and Writing Studies.  The ends of my research are pragmatic in nature as they hope to advocate for a change in the way we do things with copyright both in the digital interwebz at large but also in New Media composing spaces.  Revisit all these points in the future.

3.  My epistemological orientations:  I am (not unequivocally mind you) an intepretivist, culturalist, emergentist, constructivist, contextualist, constraintist, conflictist, situationist, ecologicalist, networkist, narrativist researcher.  These epistemological orientations post some problems for traditional social science research.  As such, how can I reconcile these positions (embodied by the social science work of Law/Latour and the humanities scholarship of Deleuze/Reid/Harman) with the kinds of empirical rigor that social science methodology prefers.  A related question:  is the work of Latour/Law attempting to move the social sciences toward a more humanistic method of inquiry?  Is this a problem for publication in empirically-based journals?

4.  What is the rhetorical aspect of research writing?  Well, you need to present a “reasonable explanation” of the data in order to present an effective analysis.

5.  In considering my audience:

  • What needs to be convinced of what?  IP needs to be localized and framed in moral terms. . . not economic.  Also, distribution of scholarship and forms of culture should be democratized and made accessible.
  • What sort of data would help convince? Examples of collaboratively produced, commons-based peer production could present some useful data for convincing.  Also, a tangible result of those CBPPs would help convince the capitalists (even though I’m arguing against them) and the digital humanities (for the free-flow of culture).
  •  What does the institutional perspective look like?  There is a tangible investment in journals and scholarship by universities and specific departments/editors because of the institutional cache that comes with being the “home” of a journal.  Also, there is an institutional investment in university presses because of the social capital for the university (Bourdieu) and because of the (possible) economic benefit some (albeit small) UPs.

6.  A Key Question:  This question is related to theoretical orientations and the tensions between some social science research and humanities based research.  So, here goes:  How do I connect the philosophy that I find inspiring and attractive from the humanities with the methodological premises/aims of social science research.  Said differently, how do I connect the work of Deleuze/Speculative Philosophy/Hardt & Negri with the Activity Theory/Actor-Network-Theory approaches offered by Latour, Law, Engestrom, Nardi, Kaptelinin, etc.?  Is there a connection?  Are they connected/correlative because they are all just humanists at heart?  Is the connection because of an object-oriented orientation?  In other words, if AT is a social-science methodology with roots in Vygotskian psychology, how do I make the connection to emergent, object-oriented philosophies that undergird network methodologies?  What is a network methodology?

7.  In considering the literature review for my project what sorts of clusters of literature do I need to do more reading in?  1) digital research methodology ethics and digital ethnography methodology; 2) coding digital textual conversations texts; 3) multimodal composing practices and their relationship to copyright in the New Media classroom (some on major exam, Reid, etc. have good things to say.  This is a very disciplinary consideration; 4) Globalization and technological access studies or the unequal distribution of technological access for individuals to particular intellectual properties.

7.  Can you really argue that you need to reframe copyright as a moral imperative, away from the economic paradigm, and at the same time argue that globalization has provided an unequal distribution of economic prosperity via copypoor/rich structures?  Is this a “Well, it is where we’re at” move that must be made in the interest of social justice?

8.  What function do I want the literature to play for me?  In my work I want the literature to tell a story that disrupts the Romantic notion of authorship and demonstrates how copyright is inhibiting human creativity and innovation by reifying said notion.  I’m also interested in demonstrating through the literature how this copyright/IP problem is particularly alarming when considered on a global scale.  Finally, I want the literature review to demonstrate how human beings can work creatively and collaboratively to build CBPPs that enhance creativity, culture, economics, and education.

So, that’s it for now.  Bazerman is taking a couple of days break while Geisler is coming in to do some intense work on the development of coding schemes for text-based analysis.  Should be pretty sweet!

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