RMeS Digital Ethnography Seminar with Prof. dr Annette Markham and Prof. dr Tania Lewis

Digital Ethnography: Always a Mixed Method Approach

Featuring Prof. dr Annette Markham (Utrecht University) and Prof. dr Tania Lewis. (RMIT University, Melbourne), former directors of the world’s longest running digital ethnography research centre, DERC.

When: April 22, 2024 | 2:30-4:00 p.m.
Where: Utrecht University – Hybrid (exact room, see below)
In person: Muntstraat 2A, Utrecht – room 0.04
Online: Teams link will be sent to all registered participants
ECTS: 2-4 EC. More information about credits and assignments, see below
Coordinator: Prof dr Annette Markham (Utrecht University)
Organisation: Prof. dr Annette Markham, Department of Media and culture Studies (Utrecht University) and RMeS
For: PhD Candidates and RMa students in Media Studies, who are a member of a Dutch Graduate Research School (onderzoekschool). RMeS staff and other interested colleagues are welcome to sit in on specific sessions.

Registration via THIS LINK. IMPORTANT NOTE: When registering, please specify at ‘remarks’ if you want to attend IN PERSON or ONLINE.

THIS EVENT IS FULLY BOOKED: In case you want to join online, please send an email to rmes@rug.nl and we will add you to the list.

This seminar is part of the RMeS Digital Ethnography Seminar Series 2024: Tools, Ethics, Futures. More information can be found here.

Digital Ethnography: Always a Mixed Method Approach

Digital ethnography is a broad approach, covering many types of inquiry. If we begin with the premise that digital ethnography is situated at the nexus of lived experience and digital transformations, and we take qualitative social sciences in anthropology and sociology as the starting points, digital ethnography becomes a naturally mixed method. In this seminar, Tania Lewis (RMIT University, Australia) joins Annette Markham (Utrecht University) to talk about a range of approaches to digital ethnography and to address some of the challenges of definitional frames for this field. Tania and Annette co-directed DERC, the world’s longest running centre dedicated to digital ethnography, which has hosted dozens of the world’s top scholars since 2012.

Tania Lewis is a Professor in the School of Media and Communication at RMIT University. Formerly a Director of the Digital Ethnography Research Centre at RMIT, she has published widely on the politics of lifestyle, sustainability, and ethical consumption, and on global media and digital cultures. Her sole and co-authored research monographs include Digital Food: From Paddock to Platform; Smart Living: Lifestyle Media and Popular Expertise; Telemodernities: Television and Transforming Lives in Asia, and Digital Ethnography; Principles and Practices. Tania’s extensive ethnographic research over more than a decade has seen her venturing onto the set of reality TV productions in South and East Asia and Australia, hanging out with households watching lifestyle television in Mumbai, investigating the cool rooms, bins and commercial kitchens of restaurants across Australia, and participating in permaculture makeovers in suburban Melbourne backyards.

Annette Markham is Chair Professor in the department of Media and Culture at Utrecht University. Former Director of the Digital Ethnography Research Centre at RMIT, and a critical digital literacy specialist, Annette has been researching the impact of digitalization on identity formation and organizing practices since 1995. As a methodologist, she studies epistemological frameworks for research design and tacit practices of researchers across scientific and everyday science domains. She also is well known for developing or remixing existing models for mindful, ethical, and rigorous approaches to qualitative or mixed-method, ethnographic, and multi-entity research design. Authored or co-edited works include: Metaphors of Internet: Ways of Being in the Age of Ubiquity; Internet Inquiry: Conversations about Method; and Life Online: Researching Real Experience in Virtual Space; and the video series, On Method: Being a Reflexive Practitioner.


General reading about digital ethnography:

  • Barendregt, B. A. (2021). Digital ethnography, or ‘deep hanging out’ in the age of big data. In C. Grasseni, B. Barendregt, E. de Maaker, F. De Musso, A. Littlejohn, M. Maeckelbergh, … M. Westmoreland (Eds.), Audiovisual and Digital Ethnography. A Practical and Theoretical Guide. (pp. 168-190). Oxon; New York: Routledge.
  • Pink, S., Horst, H., Postill, J., Hjorth, L., Lewis, T., & Tacchi, J. (2015). Digital Ethnography: Principles and Practices. Sage. (chapter 3)

to learn more about the work of the featured speakers:

  • Lewis, T., Holcombe-James, I., & Glover, A. (2024). More than just ‘working from home’: domestic space, economies and living infrastructures during and beyond pandemic times. Cultural Studies, 38(2), 299–321. 
  • Markham, A. (2018). Ethnography in the Digital Internet Era: From Fields to Flows, Descriptions to Interventions. In Denzin, N., and Lincoln, Y. (Eds.). Sage Handbook of Qualitative Research, 1129–1162. London: Sage.


To earn ECTS credit for this series, students in MA or PhD programs may choose from the following options:

2 ECTS: Attend five of the six Seminar sessions. No further requirements

4 ECTS: Attend four of the six seminar sessions. In advance of each session attended, students should prepare and upload to a designated course folder a single PDF document that comprises four questions, based on the reading materials, that could be posed to one or both of the featured speakers. Each question should be framed or situated by a short (approx 600-750 words) blogpost style essay that provides background on why or how the question is relevant and more specifically, how it is derived from the student’s personal reading and comprehension of the materials provided/suggested for each seminar session. Other source material may be added. (total word count per seminar attended is 2400-3000 words. Over the course of the entire series, the student will produce 9200-12000 words). Expression of ideas in a blogpost style post indicates that informal, first person writing style is allowed. Within this, proper citations and a consistent citation style should be used. Essays are evaluated as Pass/Fail, on the basis of completion and evidence of basic comprehension. Students should not expect any feedback from the facilitator on content.