August 31, 2006

International Blog Day - August 31st

Yes, there is such a thing! August 31st. Globalvoices online. Click the link to find out more.

Basically, you blog about 5 new blogs that you find interesting, with the authors’ permission of course.

1) Following a link (PDF file) about student ethnography from Borderland’s post on the first day back at school, took me on an intriguing virtual journey. The idea of students as ethnographers intrigues me (I first came across the idea in Critical Pedagogies and Language Learning), but a) I don’t really know what ethnography is, and b) I have no idea how a teacher might use it in class. (Apart from that, I’m all set.)

Borderland’s link gives a single reference: Egan-Robertson, A., & Bloome, D. 1998 Students as researchers of culture and language in their own communities. I tried to locate a copy using the Japanese university inter-library loan system, but the system I used could not locate a copy in Japan. I tried searching on Bloome, D. and found Writing Ourselves: Mass-Observation and Literacy Practices  What is “Mass-Observation”? Google it. (and/or Wikipedia it). It seems Mass-Observation was a nationwide ethnographic project started in 1937 in the UK by poet and sociologist (and isn’t that an interesting combination?) Charles Madge. It lasted until the late 1950s and thus covers the years of the Second World War. The collected material is now housed in the University of Sussex.

The Mass-Observation project has been resurrected, in 1981. Here’s a page about writing for the project from the point of view of one the correspondents.

This page links the concept of Mass-Obervation with a BBC video documentary series that was inspired by Mass-Observation, and with vlogging (video blogging). The author also writes about audio as the “once-and-future medium” and gives an example of a “poet-reporter”. (I like this quote: “the way we find things is changing… it feels more like things are finding us: manufactured serendipity.”)

2) Then there is this story in the Guardian:

a new UK-based website displays the writing of survivors of torture and asylum seekers from all over the world
The article tells of Write to Life, a therapy project created by the Medical Foundation for the Care of Victims of Torture, a national centre based in Finsbury Park, north London. Some of those who have taken part in this therapy have gone on writing, and so a new website was created,
Lots of Big Ideas, which has been created to provide a platform for their work and that of other people with similar stories to tell. Lots of Big Ideas was partially inspired by Global Voices, the successful global citizens' journalism site.
... which brings me back where I started.


Doug Noon said...

Egan-Robertson was the first reading assignment I had for my graduate school Reading Specialist courses, and I was pumped to get kids in my classes engaged like those in the book. Of course, nothing is quite so simple, and I'm still looking for the grail. Egan-Robertson inspired me to begin writing on the internet. I recommend the book.

From the Wikipedia entry: Ethnography: ...presents the results of a holistic research method founded on the idea that a system's properties cannot necessarily be accurately understood independently of each other. The genre has both formal and historical connections to travel writing and colonial office reports.

My favorite ethnography in recent years was The Mole People, which is almost as unbelievable as Carlos Castaneda's books, but is apparently more grounded in reality.

Thanks for all the cool links here. I haven't run them all down-yet.

Marco Polo said...

I've tagged the ethnography links with ethnography in delicious, and the writing as therapy links I've tagged as writing_project.
I'm still rather clumsy at tagging: I tend to want to tag everything with two words, like "writing project", but I notice other taggers seem content to tag with single words, e.g. "writing" and "project". I don't understand tagging well enough to know the difference, or the most efficient way to tag...

Doug Noon said...

When I first started with I was careful about which tags I used. Now I tag with abandon. Did you know that you can use the little box thing after / Autonoblogger/ at the top of your bookmark page and then put 2 or more tags in it with a + sign between them? It gets only those items that have BOTH or ALL those tags. Any meaningful association I have for the link, I put there. I'm usually pretty good at finding stuff again. When all else fails, I use the search bar, but that rarely works like I wish it would.

The real reason I'm leaving this comment: On a pure streak of serendipity I found an aritcle called Surveillance Society in a recent copy of the New Yorker online, telling about the Mass Observation movement. Forgive me if you linked to it in your article, but I don't recall seeing it there, and ran across it through sheer aimlessness.