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Extra-terrestrial Methods: Towards an ethnography of the ISS

Buchli, V; (2020) Extra-terrestrial Methods: Towards an ethnography of the ISS. In: Carroll, T and Walton, S and Walford, A, (eds.) Lineages and advancements in material culture studies: perspectives from UCL anthropology. (pp. 17-32). Routledge: Oxford, UK. Green open access

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Abstract

The anthropological study of extraterrestrial settings might seem novel and exotic. However, this chapter proposes that the methodological tool kit available to social scientists for the empirical study of multi-sited, distributed, and space-age research contexts has a well-established genealogy, informed and developed by recent innovations in the ethnographic study of social media and their attendant communities. The International Space Station (ISS) is the longest-lasting extant extraterrestrial society in Low Earth Orbit. As it is a place of dwelling, not just scientific discovery, any anthropological study of the ISS must focus on the quotidian and material dimensions of the ISS and its bodily and material techniques, re-examining traditional empirical assumptions within the innovative conditions of new polymedia environments in which the ISS is situated. A central element in the question of an extraterrestrial methodology is the means by which various forms of terrestrial and extraterrestrial attunement converge to produce novel realm of human habitation and its expanded and expanding ‘field’ of co-presence.

Type: Book chapter
Title: Extra-terrestrial Methods: Towards an ethnography of the ISS
ISBN-13: 9781003085867
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.4324/9781003085867
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.4324/9781003085867
Language: English
Additional information: This is the version of record available under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) licence
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Dept of Anthropology
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10134222
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