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

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

Sensorialidad (y más): más allá del texto

La antropología ha consagrado la escritura como práctica paradigmática para la expresión de su conocimiento, pero el texto no es suficiente para dar cuenta de la complejidad del mundo. En tiempos recientes se desarrolla un amplio esfuerzo por experimentar con otros lenguajes y formatos para el conocimiento antropológico, así ocurre con la antropología sensorial y experimentos que se inspiran en los dominios del arte y las culturas digitales.

Colaboraciones antropológicas en la contemporaneidad

La colaboración es invocada en tiempos recientes como una figura relacional necesaria para el estudio de nuestro mundo. Las llamadas a la colaboración en antropología no son nuevas, pero sí resultan novedosas las articulaciones específicas en nuestra contemporaneidad, como los ejercicios de colaboración experimental a través de los cuales antropólogos y sus contrapartes construyen problematizaciones conjuntas.

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.

Dispositivos de campo

Proponemos concebir la etnografía como un ensamblaje de dispositivos de campo: técnicas relacionales, dispositivos de registro… el concepto de dispositivo pretende llamar la atención sobre la espacialidad y materialidad específicas que demandan las situaciones etnográficas. Los dispositivos de campo son arreglos singulares que hacen posible el encuentro etnográfico, surgen de la inventiva relacional del campo y nos hablan de los mundos sociales investigados al mismo tiempo que dan cuenta del esfuerzo inventivo de las antropólogas por investigarlos.

‘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

Open formats are methodologies for thinking and doing together. Despite the relevance of the methodologies used to share knowledge, we usually resort to the most conventional formats: paper presentations, round tables, etc. This offers a collection of experiments with meeting formats as pedagogical spaces for the apprenticeship of ethnographic experimentation and encourages the need to document these ‘experiments’ 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 reciente integra el dibujo al menos de tres formas distintas: (1) como formato de representación, (2) como técnica de registro y (3) como un modo de indagación antropológico.

Antropologías multimodales: más que texto

La antropología multimodal propone un programa que especula con las formas posibles de indagación antropológica y que a través de gestos inventivos contribuye a renovar la relevancia del oficio antropológico. La reflexión que propone hace uso de la particular condición hipermediada de nuestra época tratando de superar la fijación disciplinar con lo textual para experimentar con las formas de representación, análisis e indagación. A través de ellos, los antropólogos se abren a nuevos lenguajes, formatos y otros modos de indagación.