Jewitt, C., Price, S., and Xambó, A.(2016) Conceptualising and researching the body in digital contexts: towards new methodological conversations across the arts and social sciences, Qualitative Research (online first)
The turn to the body in social sciences has intensified the gaze of qualitative research on bodily matters and embodied relations and made the body a significant object of reflection, bringing new focus on and debates around the direction of methodological advances. This article contributes to these debates in three ways: 1) we explore the potential synergies across the social sciences and arts to inform the conceptualization of the body in digital contexts; 2) we point to ways qualitative research can engage with ideas from the arts towards more inclusive methods; and 3) we offer three themes with which to interrogate and re-imagine the body: its fragmenting and zoning, its sensory and material qualities, and its boundaries. We draw on the findings of an ethnographic study of the research ecologies of six research groups in the arts and social sciences concerned with the body in digital contexts to discuss the synergetic potential of these themes and how they could be mobilized for qualitative research on the body in digital contexts. We conclude that engaging with the arts brings potential to reinvigorate and extend the methodological repertoire of qualitative social science in ways that are pertinent to the current re-thinking of the body, its materiality and boundaries.
Key words: arts-methods; body; digital; embodiment; interdisciplinary; methods; post-humanism; post-methods
Access paper: http://qrj.sagepub.com/content/early/2016/07/19/1468794116656036.abstract
Jewitt, C., Xambó, A., and Price, S. (2016) Exploring methodological innovation in the social sciences: the body in digital environments and the arts, International Journal of Social Research Methodology
In this paper we examine methodological innovation in the social sciences through a focus on researching the body in digital environments. There are two strands to our argument as to why this is a useful site to explore methodological innovation in the social sciences. First, researching the body in digital environments places new methodological demands on social science. Second, as an area of interest at the intersection of the social sciences and the arts, it provides a focus for exploring how social science innovation can be informed by engagement with the arts, in this instance how the arts work with the body in digital environments and take up social science ideas in novel ways. We argue that social science engagement with the arts and the relatively unmapped terrain of the body in digital environments has the potential to open up spaces for innovative social science questions and methods: spaces, questions and methods that have potential for more general social science methodological innovation. We draw on the findings of the Methodological Innovation in Digital Arts and Social Sciences (MIDAS) project a multi-site ethnography of the research ecologies of the social sciences and the arts related to the body in digital environments. We propose a continuum of methodological innovation that attends to how methods are moved across research contexts and disciplines, in this instance the social sciences and the digital arts. We illustrate and discuss the innovative potential of expanding and re–situating methods across the social sciences and the arts, the transfer of methods and concepts across disciplinary borders and the interdisciplinary generation of new methods. We discuss the catalysts and challenges for social science methodological innovation in relation to the digital and the arts, with attention to how the social sciences might engage with the arts towards innovative research.
Xambó, A., Jewitt, C. and Price, S. (2014) Towards an integrated methodological framework for understanding embodiment in HCI. In Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computer Systems. ACM.
Abstract: The third wave in HCI reveals how embodiment matters in post-WIMP computing systems. Yet it is still unclear what methods provide effective insight into the nature of embodiment in HCI in relation to both design and use. This paper presents work in progress on MIDAS, a cross-disciplinary methodological research project on embodiment and technology exploring synergies across the fields of Digital Arts and Social Sciences. We argue that exploiting these synergies can contribute towards an integrated, innovative and progressive framework for understanding digital body interactions. We introduce the 5 ongoing case studies that inform MIDAS, outline the project’s use of multimodal ethnography, and discuss two emerging themes: ‘conceptualising the body’ and ‘the sensory’, which will contribute to a methodological framework for informing future design, analysis and evaluation of HCI systems.
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