What is it about?

What becomes of the field when the researchers include digital technologies into their methods? We propose that 'the field site' then is better understood as a 'field event' in which mobile phones, smartphones and webcams shape ethnographic encounters, relationships and data.

Featured Image

Why is it important?

When ICTs enter the field, they shape the interactions between researchers and their study participants in significant ways. While making it possible to collect data from people in different parts of the world at all times imaginable, these technological devices also set limits to what kind of information can be gathered. It is important to consider which human and non-human actors participate in the creation of field events, how, and under what conditions, and with what consequences, both for the ethnographic data and the ethnographers’ relationships with their study participants.


This piece took years of discussions and drafts before it saw the light of final publishing. The merging of anthropological concepts with science and technology studies (STS) - which is what we do in this piece - is challenging, but the result is rewarding, as classical notions, such as the field site may become seen in a completely new way. I hope the readers will find this piece thought-provoking and relevant, especially as digital technologies increasingly become a part of ethnographic research.

Tanja Ahlin
University of Amsterdam

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: From field sites to field events: Creating the field with information and communication technologies (ICTs), Medicine Anthropology Theory, September 2019, Medicine Anthropology Theory, DOI: 10.17157/mat.6.2.655.
You can read the full text:



The following have contributed to this page