The source discipline

I'd like to have a theme in my blog posts, and I'd like to get opinions on this theme. Practice commenting guys, this will be fun!

I've always been interested in the link between Anthropology/Sociology (aka Source Disciplines) and Applied Anthro/Soc (i.e. user research).  Although applied anthropology is becoming more accepted, there is still that stigma of applications lacking methodological rigor, understanding of debates and controversies in the source disciplines, and general understanding of the evolution of method and outcome. 

I think it would be interesting if I post items of interest from the source disciplines, but linking it back to the applied field we Essential researchers are in.  Here are some examples of blog posts I'd like to do:

  • [Practice using bullets, hehe]
  • The ethics of unusable data or research artifacts.  There is a horrible Discovery Channel show called Mark and Olly Living with the Machiguenga.  Two explorers find the most remote groups of people on earth and attempt to live with them.  A major element of the show is the fact that these people's lives are now being videotaped.  Assuming this show isn't entirely false, there are some ethical implications here.  For example, is the exposure sphere and permance of the recorded image well-communicated to the group? I think it would raise an interesting discussion about how user research is based heavily on the recorded image, and how much participation and development of artifacts user research asks of participants.  Might be a little too...intense?
  • There have been interesting studies on different cultural perceptions of longevity and health.  I think it would be cool to talk about that since we do some medical device design.
  • I am reading a great book called "Fieldwork is not what it used to be:  Learning Anthropology's Method in a Time of Transition."  It is excellent and talks about some of the latest developments in understanding fieldwork, how it's evolved, and the burden technology has placed on anthropologists on capturing "the field." 
  • Ethnomethodology--which will make your head explode, but there are some valuable methodological applications we can draw into user research.  Breach experiments would be a fun thing to test out.
  • There are a few articles on why ethnography is considered harmful in user research that I think we could simplify and discuss (rebutt?)


Those are some of my ideas, and I promise they will be more light-hearted and interesting than these bullets make them seem.