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Published September 25, 2020 | Version v1
Journal article Open

Members doing ethnography? On some uses of irony and failed translation, witnessed in an episode of data sharing in open science



Early in his Studies in Ethnomethodology, Harold Garfinkel argues that ‘doing, recognizing, and using ethnographies’ is ‘for members a commonplace phenomenon’. He makes an intriguing remark on members’ uses of ‘anthropological strangeness’ in its pursuit. In this paper I aim to contribute a few questions, observations and thoughts on ‘members doing ethnography’, informed by work in anthropology that has emphasized the uses of translation and irony in cross-cultural understanding. I draw on my ethnography of a team of junior astronomers who prepared a scientific data set for public release and thereby became both inquirers into, and actors in, astronomy’s ‘culture of open data access’, in which there are no natives to talk with, or translate from. I inquire into how these scientists attempted to translate from their quotidian Euro-American culture into this ‘culture of open data access’, and failed in insightful ways. I also pay attention to their collaborative production of irony in interaction and discuss whether its analysis could function as an ‘ethnographic proof procedure’


+Sprache: eng.


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