Ethnography and policy: Knowledge production as negotiating multiplicity in landscapes of policy practice

Michaela Spencer, Natalie Gill

Research output: Contribution to conferenceConference paper presented at Conference (not in Proceedings)

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In this presentation, we draw on our experience of teaching ‘policy and ethnography’ to students who were also employed as government bureaucrats working in remote Aboriginal communities in northern Australia. Initially, we draw on our own experiences as STS researchers working in policy landscapes shaped by multiple discourses that included subjectivities, objects and contexts that were at times uncomfortable or excluding. We share stories of ethnographic research practice where we position our own collaborative engagements, and those of the student’s engagement in the institutions of government bureaucracy and the institutions and knowledge practices of Indigenous people-places. In foregrounding ethnographic stories as actors in these complex policy landscapes, and mobilising a working typology (‘figures’, ‘tensions’, ‘located subjects’ and ‘materialities’), we’ve reached towards ways that student-researchers can work with their own embodied participation in the configuring networks of policy practice to generate research accounts which do not abstract or step away from the situations of their involvement, but nonetheless produce robust policy data, and generative research outcomes.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2021
Event4S Conference : Toronto 2021 - Toronto , Canada
Duration: 6 Oct 20219 Oct 2021


Conference4S Conference
Internet address


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