Interfering With Others - Re-configuring Ethnography as a Diffractive Practice

  • Elias Mellander University of Gothenburg, Sweden.
  • Andréa Wiszmeg University of Lund, Sweden.
Nøgleord: diffraction, reflexivity, ethnography, ethnology, ethnographic practices, re-configuring, closeness, proximity, articulation, participants, situatedness, agential cuts, apparatus


This essay will concern itself with what we – ethnologists or ethnographers by any other name – do. Not primarily “do” in terms of activities we undertake; we interview, we observe, we write, we send emails, we have coffee, we print stacks of paper, we structure administrative chores, we go to meetings, we apply for grants, etc. Rather, we want to address the “do” in terms of what we make, or bring into the world through ethnography. What is it that we through the combination of all of our practices bring into being? What is that bringing into being dependent on? And, how does it influence the world? The first step to addressing these questions is outlining ethnography itself and how we – the authors – choose to articulate it. Articulation, as articulated by Donna Haraway is a process of signifying and of putting things together, letting them be diverse and maybe even in friction with one another and themselves. The concept connotes an on-going indeterminacy. The articulations made in research, we argue, should be allowed to be of a searching quality, as well as being relational and expressive. They should not excuse themselves, neither make greater claims than they can fulfill. They should never be conclusive.


Elias Mellander, University of Gothenburg, Sweden.

Elias Mellander is a Ph.D. candidate in European Ethnology at the Department of Cultural Sciences, University of Gothenburg, Sweden. In his upcoming dissertation he explores different applications of ethnology in contexts outside of academia.

Andréa Wiszmeg, University of Lund, Sweden.

Andréa Wiszmeg is a Ph.D. candidate in Ethnology at the Department of Arts and Cultural Sciences, Lund University, Sweden. Her upcoming dissertation investigates entwinements of knowledge production and cultural expressions in contemporary evidence based biomedicine.

Mellander, E., & Wiszmeg, A. (2016). Interfering With Others - Re-configuring Ethnography as a Diffractive Practice. Kulturstudier, 7(1), 93-115.