Key thinker seminar: ethnography of the global

Event details


Date & time

Tuesday 17 March 2015


Seminar room 3, Hedley Bull Centre, #130, ANU
ANU Canberra


Sally Engle Merry


Dr Emma Larking
+61 (0)2 6125 1513

As social scientists tackle the challenge of understanding the nature of globalization and sites of global social life, they often turn to large, quantitative studies.  However, an anthropological focus on the micro social situation understood in a larger social context, offers an important way of understanding the global. While ethnography is resolutely focused on small sites of social interaction, there are ways to apply this methodology to phenomena that circulate transnationally.  Ethnography can also illuminate social scenes that exist only in international space or that are deeply local but embedded in national and transnational systems of meaning and practice.  Wherever it is practiced, ethnography focuses on forms of discourse and meaning, every day practices and habits, and systems of actors, networks and institutional frameworks.  The seminar will explore four approaches to ethnography at the global level, discussing the advantages and disadvantages of each one.  We will discuss multi-sited ethnography, deterritorialized ethnography, local ethnography in global context, and ethnographic approaches to global indicators and governance.Suggested readings in preparation for this seminar are listed below.George Marcus, 1995, 'The emergence of multi-sited ethnography', in Ethnography through thick and thinSally Engle Merry, Human Rights and Gender Violence, chs. 1 and 2;Peggy Levitt and Sally Engle Merry, 2009. 'Vernacularization on the ground: local uses of global women’s rights in Peru, China, India and the United States'Some of the readings can be downloaded below.Sally Engle Merry is Professor of Anthropology, Law and Society at New York University and Adjunct Professor here at RegNet. Her work explores the role of law in urban life in the US, in the colonizing process, and in contemporary transnationalism.Sally's presentation is hosted by the Centre for International Governance and Justice, RegNet and the Department of Gender, Media & Cultural studies, School of Culture, History and Language, College of Asia and the Pacific.Image by Jer Thorp on Flickr under the CC BY 2.0 license

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