Ethnography and the Development of Science and Technology Studies By David J. Hess (2011)

This is an excellent overview of ethnographies of science. This is essentially a model for what I want to do.

In contrast, Latour and Woolgar (1986) were more concerned with the rhetorical markers of the persuasion process that converted observations into widely accepted facts, and consequently their fieldwork focused on the laboratory and writing processes. They also were more concerned with the problem of going native, that is, accepting scientists’ accounts of their work at face value. As a result, they emphasized the value of playing stranger to the experimental culture of the laboratory.2 p. 2

In addition to a standard of competence, there are other criteria that should be
included in a standard of a ‘good ethnography’ of science and technology. In the
direction of the humanities, good ethnographies frequently interrogate or complexify the taken-for-granted, such as common-sense categories employed by social scientists, policymakers, activists, and scientists. Good ethnographies usually involve an element of surprise or subversion; the fieldworker finds phenomena, meanings, terms, practices, social relations, institutions, capital flows, culture-power connections, and so on that might not have been expected. Here, the ethnographic voice is one of thick description (Geertz, 1973), as in the work of historical interpretation or textual exegesis, although not necessarily restricted to the textualist limitations of Geertzian interpretive anthropology.  […]

Some ethnographers would argue that the standard described above is good
enough. Can a mere contribution to the STS literature justify the tremendous investment of an intelligent, educated citizen, not to mention taxpayer dollars that might have supported the research project? An additional criterion for a good ethnography is that ethnographers develop ways of intervening in their field sites as a citizen-researchers and of making their competence applicable to policy problems. The concept of policy does not have to be restricted to government science and technology policy; following Beck (1997), the policy application may be more at the ‘subpolitical’ level of how scientific and technical communities might change practices to achieve goals such as increased participation from underrepresented groups.p. 9


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