Developing Cyberethnographic Research Methods for Understanding Digitally Mediated Identities

  • Natalia Rybas Bowling Green State University
  • Radhika Gajjala Bowling Green State University
Keywords: cyberethnography, epistemology of doing, identity construction, critical, social network systems


In this essay, we discuss the production of subjectivities at the intersection of local/global and online/offline environments through an engagement with the contexts ethnographically, to illustrate a methodology based on epistemologies of doing. We suggest that researchers studying the production of identity in technospaces must engage in the production of culture and subjectivity in the specific context while interacting with others doing the same in order to gain a nuanced understanding of how identities are formed and performed in such socio-economic environments. Identities thus produced are central to the workings of community situated in specific social, economic and cultural practices and structures of power. Through examining practices that shape these identity formations within various technological environments, we can work towards developing theoretical frameworks that actively shift hierarchies of oppression. URN: urn:nbn:de:0114-fqs0703355


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Author Biographies

Natalia Rybas, Bowling Green State University
Natalia RYBAS is a doctoral candidate at the School of Communication Studies, Bowling Green State University (Ohio). Her research interests concentrate around cyberculture, technology-mediated communication, critical studies of technology, and cyberethnography. Currently, she is working on her dissertation on technocultural practices in social network systems.
Radhika Gajjala, Bowling Green State University
Radhika GAJJALA is an Associate Professor in the School of Communication Studies, Bowling Green State University (Ohio). She has published various journal articles and book chapters. Her book "Cyberselves: Feminist Ethnographies of South Asian Women" was published in 2004 by Altamira Press. She is currently finishing up a book length single-authored project on Technocultural Agency and Identity at the Interface and is co-editing a book on South Asian Technospaces.
Thematic Issue