Accepted paper:

Collaboration as an anthropological endeavour and in vivo practice


Emma Garnett (King's College London)

Paper short abstract:

My ethnographic research explores the relations of 'collaboration' in an inter-disciplinary scientific team. Using my experience as a co-collaborator I examine the translation of knowledge as both an anthropological endeavour and in vivo practice.

Paper long abstract:

In this paper I explore the relations of 'collaboration' in a scientific team called 'Weather, Health and Air Pollution'(WHAP). I use my fieldwork experience, understood here as a relation of collaboration, to consider ethnographic spaces where the ethnographer's informants are engaged in similar knowledge practices to the ethnographer themselves. Conducting interdisciplinary research on air pollution is a reflexive process. Scientists on WHAP discuss, materialise and implement a number of different ways of ensuring they effectively translate their knowledge (data, methods and technologies) on air pollution between different scientific disciplines. This process of translation and exchange between epistemic communities seems to be what it means 'to collaborate' on WHAP, a process which implies an act of comparison and a transformation of information. I engage in this process of translation as an ethnographer on WHAP. I am also complicit in the field site in that I share a common object of curiosity, air pollution. During my field work I observed a shift in ways of practicing 'collaboration' that compare and account for these different perspectives of air pollution. Thus, I examine translation as both an anthropological endeavour and in vivo practice through my own collaborative experiment. I suggest that members of the WHAP project offer insight into how to "take seriously" scientific beliefs that are not our own, rather than assuming the divisive lines of epistemological commitment.

panel IP05
Ethnography as collaboration/experiment