I’ve had this idea floating around for a while. It began when I accompanied a friend to an Insane Clown Posse concert to do some ethnographic work for a (undergrad) course paper he was writing. It was an amazing event, with a lot of unexpected experiences and his write-up was great.
Yesterday a friend sent me a link for an event being held nearby: A ‘Sound of Music’ Sing-a-long. What is interesting is that there is a “for kids” version held earlier in the day and a “18+” one being held later at night. Of course, the first thing that came to my mind was: what kinds of adults are spending their night (and buying tickets to) an ADULTS ONLY Sound of Music sing-a-long night. What on earth could this event be like?
I have found myself asking similar questions about other events and phenomena: civil war reenactments, tweed bike rides…the list could be nearly endless. So, posted on facebook asking if others might be interested in some sort of ethnography collective that might hit these types of events. It seems like a popular idea!
So, I am proposing forming a gonzo/radical/rouge ethnography collective for precisely this reason. I think the key requirment is that the collective is fun. This is all inspired by marveling at ridiculousness and I don’t really have an interest in trying to produce something super serious or all starry-eyed like NYTimes or New Yorker articles. I want to go out, take notes, film, record and have fun with friends.
That said, I also think this is something people would like to read. We could set up a website/blog where we could post reports with video and whatnot. Anything is possible really.
Finally, I also think this might be a cool way to run an ethnography training course. I could teach people what I know and, like in classes, go out and put it into practice. It’s a field school…with more booze and smiles.
What do people think? You can comment below and/or email me and I will get some sort of list together. We could share upcoming potential field sites and just see if anyone feels like going and hanging out. Once we get some under our belt, we can start thinking of publishing online, etc. What do you think the best way to proceed might be?
Perhaps begin with a Google Group: https://groups.google.com/d/forum/gonzo-ethnography-collective