This seminar reflects on our 2009 CHI paper Ethnography Considered Harmful: http://www.cs.nott.ac.uk/~pszaxc/work/CHI09.pdf The paper reviewed the current status of ethnography in systems design and focused particularly on new approaches to and understandings of ethnography that emerged as the computer moved out of the workplace. These approaches sought to implement a different kind of ethnographic study. In doing so they reconfigured the relationship ethnography has to systems design, replacing detailed empirical studies of situated action with studies that provide cultural interpretations of action and critiques of the design process itself. We hold these new approaches to and understandings of ethnography in design up to scrutiny, with the purpose of enabling designers to appreciate the differences between new and existing approaches to ethnography in systems design and the practical implications this might have for design. The paper was further elaborated in the book Deconstructing Ethnography: Towards a Social Methodology for Interactive and Ubiquitous Systems Design: https://www.springer.com/gp/book/9783319219530
Andy Crabtree is Professor of Computer Science at the University of Nottingham. A sociologist by background and training, he has worked in an interdisciplinary context sensitising IT research and systems design to the social character of computing across a broad range of sectors for over 25 years. He was the first ethnographer to be awarded a Senior Fellowship by the EPSRC, focused on privacy and accountability in the Internet of Things. He has published over 150 peer-reviewed scientific works, and 3 textbooks on Design Ethnography, is a member of the EPSRC Strategic Advisory Network and Strategic Priorities Fund Evaluation Advisory Group.