Digital Ethnography Principles and Practice

This sharp, innovative book champions the rising significance of ethnographic research on the use of digital resources around the world. It contextualises digital and pre-digital ethnographic research and demonstrates how the methodological, practical and theoretical dimensions are increasingly intertwined.

Digital ethnography is central to our understanding of the social world; it can shape methodology and methods, and provides the technological tools needed to research society. The authoritative team of authors clearly set out how to research localities, objects and events as well as providing insights into exploring individuals’ or communities’ lived experiences, practices and relationships.


The book:

  • Defines a series of central concepts in this new branch of social and cultural research
  • Challenges existing conceptual and analytical categories
  • Showcases new and innovative methods
  • Theorises the digital world in new ways
  • Encourages us to rethink pre-digital practices, media and environments


This is the ideal introduction for anyone intending to conduct ethnographic research in today’s digital society.

Product Details

  • Publish Date:11/2015
  • Paperback: 216 pages
  • Language: English
  • ISBN: 9781473902381

An essential book for anyone looking to research our contemporary media-saturated context and the implications it has for how we live our lives today. Digital Ethnography comes with an exciting and inspiring range of case studies that demonstrate how thoroughly digitally mediated we are, and how previous methodological concepts can be adapted and applied. This book sets a benchmark for ensuring a truly unique approach to digital ethnography, in an age where ‘the digital’ has become second nature

Adrienne Evans
Department of Media, Coventry University, UK

This is a delightful book – lively, engaging, challenging – providing us with the best available resource for exploring the exciting field of digital ethnography. It is an indispensable text for anyone interested in understanding the diversity and complexity of how the digital is woven into everyday life.

Martin Hand
Department of Sociology, Queen’s University, Canada

About the Authors

Sarah Pink is design anthropologist, researcher, consultant and thought leader, whose work focuses on scholarship and intervention in the fields of technology design, digital technologies in everyday life and design for wellbeing. She is currently Professor of Design and Emerging Technologies at Monash University, where she is also Director of the interdisciplinary Emerging Technology Research Lab, spanning Monash Art, Design and Architecture (MADA) and Faculty of Information Technology. Prior to this Sarah was a Distinguished Professor in Design and Media Ethnography at RMIT University and from 2016 -2017 DERC’s Director.

Distinguished Professor Larissa Hjorth is an artist and digital ethnographer in the School of Media & Communication, RMIT University. She studies the socio-cultural dimensions of mobile media and play in the Asia-Pacific region. In particular, Hjorth’s work focuses upon intergenerational and cross-cultural approaches.

Heather Horst is Professor and Director of Research Partnerships in the College of Design and Social Context at RMIT University, Australia. She was also Founding Director (2012-2015) of the Digital Ethnography Research Centre. Heather’s research focuses upon understanding how digital technologies, mobile phones and other forms of material culture mediate relationships, learning, and mobility.

Tania Lewis is the Director of the Digital Ethnography Research Centre and is a Professor in the School of Media and Communication at RMIT University. Her research critically engages with the politics of lifestyle, sustainability and consumption, and with global media and digital cultures. Tania has published over 50 journal articles and chapters and is the author of Smart Living: Lifestyle Media and Popular Expertise (Peter Lang), and co-author of Telemodernities: Television and Transforming Lives in Asia (Duke University Press) and Digital Ethnography: Principles and Practices (Sage). She is also the editor and co-editor of 4 collections with Routledge including Ethical Consumption: A Critical Introduction and Green Asia: Ecocultures, Sustainable Lifestyles and Ethical Consumption. 

John Postill(PhD, UCL) is Vice-Chancellor’s Senior Research Fellow at RMIT University, Melbourne, and Digital Anthropology Fellow at University College London (UCL).

Jo Tacchi is a Professor and Director of Research and Innovation and Deputy to the Executive Director of RMIT Europe in Barcelona. She is trained as a social anthropologist and researches media, communication, development and social change, the senses and emotions, and everyday digital life. She has led a number of multi country projects with partners such as UNESCO, UNICEF, Intel and KPMG, attracting $5m in research funding. She has worked mostly in South Asia.

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