Week four and community cultures: exploring the ‘open’ and ‘closed’ (false) binary

Dualisms visual artefact
A ‘creative “gathering”‘? (Dualisms visual artefact)

Moving into our community cultures block, and preparing my micro-ethnography, how might we take a critical view on the relations between technologies and people? Could we imagine a ‘creative “gathering”‘? Might we envisage relations between technology and culture as ‘co-determining, co-constructive forces…a complex dance, an interweaving and intertwining’ (Kozinets 2010: 22)? Would an agential realist perspective (Barad 2003: 828) – where ‘there is no…exterior observational point’ and ‘we are part of the world in its ongoing intra-activity’ – encourage us to think differently about notions of ‘community’ and how we might explore it?

'Open'/'closed' binary
‘Open’/’closed’ binary

Building on the ‘inside’ and ‘outside’ binary touched upon in the Dualisms visual artefact, I am questioning the (false) binary between ‘open’ and ‘closed’ (Collier and Ross 2017: 8; Ross et al. 2019: 28). This is particularly pertinent, as I am looking to focus my micro-ethography on the ‘open course on digital storytelling’ ds106, joining as an ‘open participant’. The open course originates from (and follows) a Spring 2020 university course at the University of Mary Washington. Each student has a blog and weekly assignments, both public, and there are also ‘Daily Create‘ challenges and a ds106 radio; ‘open’ participants can engage in many aspects.

As I begin my micro-ethnography, I reflect on several suggestions from boyd (2009: 29), namely to read other ethnographies, and then to…

‘…begin by focusing on a culture. What defines that culture? Its practices? Its identity? Who are the relevant social groups? What are the relevant social dynamics? What boundaries are applicable?’ (boyd 2009: 29)

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