Xcol: An Open-source Platform To Care For Ethnographic Invention

Tomás Criado, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin; Adolfo Estalella, Universidad Complutense de Madrid

Toronto 2021: Storytelling as Relations

“xcol—An Ethnographic Inventory” is a digital platform to take care of the inventiveness of ethnographic modes of inquiry. The platform participates in current debates about the transformation of the practice and method of ethnography in the contemporary. Indeed, over the last few decades, the transformation of our worlds has demanded a continuous refunctioning of ethnography: The impulse to renovate the form and norm of ethnography in recent years has invoked calls for novel modes of collaboration, experiments and approaches to multimodal forms, and an intensification of the performative and creative practices of ethnography. Its starting premise is that ethnography is an act of invention, one that resides in the fact that ethnographers always need to invent the relations that enable them to inquire with others. As a result, the inventory is a collaborative open-source platform providing pedagogical resources for ethnographic learning. Launched in November 2020, it documents and curates ethnographers’ inventiveness into four categories: the relational inventions produced in the field by anthropologists and their companions (field devices), pedagogical methodologies and venues for ethnographical apprenticeship (open formats), interventions into the inside of the discipline drawing inspiration from our fields of study (intraventions), and experiments in ethnographic practice (prototypes).

Our plan for the forthcoming months is to launch a series of ‘call for inventions’ so as to solicit different kinds of materials for the platform, in the different categories and modes of writing it affords.

Published: 01/30/2023