Cooperation and Difference. Camera Ethnography in the Research Project ‘Early Childhood and Smartphone’

Bina Elisabeth Mohn Pip Hare Astrid Vogelpohl Jutta Wiesemann

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Abstract

The article examines the fundamental role of cooperation and difference in ethnographic research. We use camera ethnography in our research project B05 “Early Childhood and Smartphone. Family Interaction Order, Learning Processes and Cooperation” to reveal the iconographic aspects of media practices and to examine their choreographies in space and time. This enables us to engage with aspects such as embodiment, materiality, and perception in early childhood and learning. Rather than using video technology to produce recordings of a ‘reality’ assumed to be simply there and filmable, a key methodological premise of camera ethnography is that the visibility of an object of research is not given a priori but has to be generated by media ethnographic research practices. Hence, ethnographic research practices are epistemic practices and constitute “epistemic things” (see Rheinberger 2006; Knorr-Cetina 1999). To discover and investigate media practices in early childhood involves building, shaping, and maintaining relationships of cooperation and difference.