XCOL Logo
An Ethnographic Inventory

Adolfo Estalella

Assistant Professor in Social Anthropology (Profesor Ayudante Doctor), Department of Social Anthropology and Social Psychology, Faculty of Sociology and Political Sciences, Complutense University of Madrid (Spain). email: jestalel [at] ucm

I am an anthropologist with an interest in grassroots urbanism and digital cultures. I have investigated the epistemic transformations of our contemporary taken place in two empirical domains: the city and the Internet. My investigation explores the emergence of new forms of ‘wild research’ promoted by urban grassroots. My work contributes to understand the epistemic practices of these movements and their experimental ethos (see City and Architecture section).

My second research line explores and intervenes on the epistemic transformations of anthropological modes of inquiry. I have carried out a sustained exploration of the modes of experimental collaboration in anthropology, an endeavour gathered in the xcol platform. Part of this long-standing interest is my work on digital ethnography and the ethical challenges of academic practices (see xcol section).

In recent years I have explored the intersection between art, anthropology and urban practices. This has led me to experiment with artistic languages and formats as vehicles for anthropological knowledge. This exploration is integral to the Colleex network (Collaboratory for Ethnographic Experimentation), an official network of the European Association of Social Anthropology (EASA) that I co-founded in 2017 (see Art section).

Inventions by Adolfo Estalella

The method of telegrammatic correspondence: A digital mode of inquiry for times of lockdown

Collaborate

Infraestructuras etnográficas

Problematorio de ética de la investigación

CLEENIK – Clinic of anthropological ethnographic experiments

Glossary terms added by Adolfo Estalella

Experimental collaborations

Experimental collaboration is an ethnographic mode of collaboration (there are others ‘modes of collaboration’) that entails field interventions through material...

Experimentation

Experimentation is a figure invoked in many domains, it is not though so common in anthropology. In the xcol language...

Modes of collaboration

The idiom of collaboration has pervaded anthropology and many other social domains in recent years, capturing the imagination of a...

Intravention

Intravention refers to interventions inside our own disciplines occurring in collaboration and complicity with our ethnographic counterparts and epistemic partners....

Field devices

Field devices are the situated and relational expressions of ethnographic modes of inquiry. A field device may have the form...

Xpositions by Adolfo Estalella

xcol, un inventario de la invención etnográfica

La etnografía es un acto de invención. Los antropólogos (y las antropólogas también) inventan siempre la manera de investigar con otras. La creatividad e inventiva que es integral a la actividad empírica de la antropología (y de manera amplia de la etnográfica), ha sido raramente reconocida por esta disciplina. Inventiva y creatividad parecen estar prescritas, muy al contrario de lo que ocurre en el mundo del arte, donde la creatividad es una de sus señas de identidad. Este encuentro online es la presentación / lanzamiento de ‘xcol. An ethnographic inventory’ en el Laboratorio de Antropología Audiovisual Experimental del MUSAC: tras una introducción del argumento teórico sobre la inventiva etnográfica se presenta una navegación guiada por el inventario xcol.

Ethnographic experimentation: Other tales of the field

Ethnographic experimentation refers to an ethnographic modality where anthropologists venture into the collaborative production of venues for knowledge creation that turn the field into a site for the construction of joint anthropological problematizations. Invoking the trope of ethnographic experimentation we aim at describing how anthropologists creatively venture into the production of venues of knowledge creation through processes of material and social interventions that turn the field into a site for epistemic collaboration: a site for the construction of joint anthropological problematizations.

‘Devicing’ fieldwork

We would like to intimate a mode of collaboration that is neither a constitutive condition of fieldwork nor a deliberate strategy informed by political and ethical commitments: Collaboration as an epistemic figure that describes how anthropologists creatively venture into the production of venues of knowledge creation in partnership with their counterparts in the field. In these situations, the ethnographic method is re-equipped with new infrastructures, spaces of knowledge production, relationship forms and modes of representation.

The ethnographic invention

Ethnography is an act of invention. Anthropological inquiries always demand to invent how to inquire and how to relate to others, this is the central argument upon which xcol-Inventory has been built. But if invention has always been integral to the empirical practice of ethnography, the imperative to care for our knowledge practices should also involve to care for the inventiveness of our modes of inquiry.

The Lab is not Blah: Academic encounters, venues to re-train ourselves

Meetings are, together with papers and books, perhaps the quintessential mechanism for the circulation of academic knowledge. And yet, despite their relevance, we usually resort to the most conventional formats: paper presentations, round tables, etc. Nevertheless, anthropology has recently recognised the need to explore other ways of sharing our knowledge and thinking together. We strongly believe that formats to share and think together should be considered as part and parcel of a discussion on ethnographic experimentation. We argue for the need to document these ‘experiments in meeting’ so that they may travel, be learnt and reproduced elsewhere.

El dibujo etnográfico. Delinear modos de indagación

El dibujo siempre ha formado parte del oficio antropológico pero le ha ocurrido lo mismo que a la fotografía, ha sido una actividad marginada. La investigación antropológica ha integrado el dibujo al menos de tres formas distintas: (1) como formato de representación, (2) como técnica de registro y, finalmente, (3) la práctica de dibujar se convierte también en un modo de indagación antropológico.

Más que texto: antropologías multimodales

Las antropología multimodal emerge en tiempos recientes haciendo uso de la particular condición hipermediada de nuestra época, superando la tradicional fijación de la disciplina con la escritura. Una antropología que explora formas de expresión y representación más allá de lo textual, que está basada en lo multi-sensorial, que es performativa antes que representacional y que es inventiva antes que descriptiva. La antropología multimodal nos sitúa ante otros 'modos' de indagación antropológica.