Global Media Studies: Ethnographic Perspectives

By Patrick D. Murphy; Marwan M. Kraidy | Go to book overview

4

WHERE IS AUDIENCE ETHNOGRAPHY'S FIELDWORK?

Anna Clua

What is a place? What gives a place its identity, its aura? These questions occurred to the physicists Niels Bohr and Werner Heisenberg when they visited Kronberg Castle in Denmark. Bohr said to Heisenberg:

Isn't it strange how this castle changes as soon as one imagines that Hamlet lived here? As scientists we believe that a castle consists only of stones, and admire the way the architect put them together. The stones, the green roof with its patina, the woodcarvings in the church, constitute the whole castle. None of this should be changed by the fact that Hamlet lived here, and yet it is changed completely. Suddenly the walls and the ramparts speak in a quite different language. The courtyard becomes an entire world, a dark corner reminds us of the darkness in the human soul, we hear Hamlet's "To be or not to be." Yet all we know about Hamlet is that his name appears in a thirteenth-century chronicle. No one can prove that he really lived, let alone that he lived here. But everyone knows the questions Shakespeare had him ask, the human depth he was made to reveal, and so he, too, had to be found a place on earth, here in Kronberg. And once we know that, Kronberg becomes quite a different castle for us.

(Heisenberg, 1972, p. 51, quoted in Tuan, 1977, p. 4)

In 1999 I spent five months in Denmark. One day I decided to visit Kronberg. What I could see, after a first gaze at the map, was that Kronberg was labeled there as Kronborg. When placing myself at the middle of the castle's courtyard I could not hear any human soul's deep whisper, but instead the reverberating sound of a repertory of military marches played by a band of Danish girls dressed in red and white miniskirts. I felt just like a tourist. And then I realized

-57-

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Global Media Studies: Ethnographic Perspectives
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Part I - Introduction 1
  • 1 - Towards an Ethnographic Approach to Global Media Studies 3
  • Notes 16
  • Part II - Situating Ethnography in Global Media Studies 21
  • 2 - The Problem of Textuality in Ethnographic Audience Research 23
  • References 37
  • 3 - Passing Ethnographies 40
  • Notes 54
  • 4 - Where is Audience Ethnography's Fieldwork? 57
  • 5 - Audience Letters and Letter-Writers 72
  • 6 - Rituals in the Modern World 90
  • Part III - Researching the Local 107
  • 7 - Negotiation and Position 109
  • References 123
  • 8 - "Now That You'Re Going Home, Are You Going to Write About the Natives You Studied?" 125
  • Notes 144
  • 9 - Methodology as Lived Experience 147
  • Notes 162
  • 10 - On the Border 165
  • References 182
  • 11 - Radio's Early Arrival in Rural Appalachia 184
  • Part IV - Articulating Globalization Through Ethnography 213
  • 12 - "Ask the West, Will Dinosaurs Come Back?" 215
  • Notes 231
  • References 232
  • 13 - Where the Global Meets the Local 234
  • 14 - Chasing Echoes 257
  • References 274
  • 15 - Globalization Avant La Lettre? 276
  • Notes 292
  • Part V - Afterword 297
  • 16 - Media Ethnography 299
  • References 306
  • Index 308
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