November 8, 2008

...and her body

While virtual places or mediated settings may appear as the primary field sites and research locations, these practices are not disembodied. The utopia of disembodiment in the Internet ruled the first generations of studies on virtually networked social interaction, but is now less prominent. For example the deeply personal experiences on sexuality and one’s body are not something solely raised by online technologies, but discussing them and exploring them in new forms has evolved at the same time with these technologies becoming available for research purposes. The workshop participants started addressing some of the very problematic themes of academic research such as sex and possibly terminal illnesses. Both researcher’s and participants’ bodies are entirely involved in the study of these and several questions are raised, such as what are the limits of getting involved and is it possible for a researcher to understand a condition or experience that (s)he has not gone through. But mainly, the discussions focused on the consequences for the insights produced of these different kinds of involvement. The researcher’s gender was considered meaningful, in this and other discussions. It was also discussed how difficult it is to tie strong personal experiences in the research text. Furthermore, some studies concentrate on how people inhabit parallel places and spaces at the same time and how a practice can take place in two or more locations. Studying multiple places/spaces simultaneously and in relation to each other requires new methods and tools.

No comments: