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Beyond ethnographic scriptocentrism: Modelling multi-scalar processes, networks, and relationships

Type of publication Peer-reviewed
Publikationsform Original article (peer-reviewed)
Author Mueller Alain,
Project Kinesic Knowledge in Anthropology and Literature
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Original article (peer-reviewed)

Journal Anthropological Theory
Title of proceedings Anthropological Theory


This article presents an approach to pictorial-diagrammatic modelling that was developed and used in ethnographic research on a quasi-global, networked cultural arrangement—specifically, hardcore punk. By facilitating visual mapping, thinking, and conceptualizing, this approach constitutes a methodological apparatus—or ‘experimental system’—that helps to bridge the gap between collections of particular, situated ethnographic accounts and the development of a broader analysis of multi-scalar networks of relationships. A specific feature of this apparatus is its heuristic function, whereby research questions and approaches, on the one hand, and development and use of the model, on the other, recursively and mutually inform each other. The article advocates for a more formalized and systematic use of such tools in ethnographic research, and suggests new ways to move beyond ethnography’s predominantly verbal and scriptocentric tradition. On a broader level, this retrospective analysis provides an example of the usually opaque, and rarely discussed, process of crafting ethnographic ideas, concepts, and approaches.