The Ethnographer Unbared: Reflections on Ethnographic Media Research Processes


  • Zala Volcic Monash University



media, Yugoslavia, liminality, gender, class, dialogue, ethnography


In this article, I unpack some of the challenges I faced doing ethnographic work on media production and consumption in the Balkans—particularly in the period of the 1990s-2000s in former Yugoslavia. I reflect on how my personal and intellectual background intersected with my fieldwork in a context that demanded constant (re)negotiation of my own identity, in relation not only to my participants and research colleagues in the region, but also to prevailing academic institutional practices. The article is not an autoethnographic account per se, but more a reflection on the research process in fieldwork sites experiencing great economic, political and social turmoil. As a young female researcher working in the area of cultural and media studies, I faced the problem of not being taken seriously by some research participants and colleagues early on, and had to identify and negotiate my way into the various cultural practices that would enable me to conduct effective multi-site research.


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Author Biography

Zala Volcic, Monash University

Zala VOLCIC teaches at Monash University, Melbourne, Australia, and works on issues to do with media, (digital) cultures, nationalism, class and gender, with a focus on European, Australian and USA media contexts. She has researched and written on global media, transitional justice, Eastern-European cinema, internet infrastructure and development, memories and traumatic past, and gender, class and social media. She has published a wide range of books, peer-reviewed articles and invited chapters. Her work is taught at graduate and undergraduate levels around the world. She serves on several journal editorial boards and non-profit foundations. Zala was responsible for the implementation of a new undergraduate and graduate communication, journalism and media studies curricula at different universities around the world, including Franklin University (Switzerland), University of Queensland (Australia), San Bernardino (USA), and Pomona College (USA). Currently, she is a director of a bachelor of media and communication degree, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia.




How to Cite

Volcic, Z. (2022). The Ethnographer Unbared: Reflections on Ethnographic Media Research Processes. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 23(1).



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