Some of us in the Information Security Group at Royal Holloway University of London did a thing; we created the Ethnography Group to, in a slightly more formal way, bring together and make visible our ethnographic work. Our intention is to create a hub - a home - for those of us working at the intersections of ethnography and information security, with a particular focus on the security needs and practices of populations that are under-represented in information security research.
We outline our focus, in a few more words, on our website:
Information security is concerned with securing information – and that which depends on it – from adversaries. Information security is thus a field centrally concerned with conflict, of protecting one interest against the other. Members of the Ethnography Group use ethnographic methods of inquiry to research distinct sites of conflicting interests as a way to understand information security needs and practices held among groups with no institutional representation. This includes research with domestic workers, single-household families on the poverty edge, `data-driven’ policing networks, mobile workforces, protesters, populations in post-conflict contexts, environmental and human-rights activists, to mention a few. Our focus is thus on groups that are under-represented in information security research and concerns the information security needs of people who interact with institutions, while not the institutions themselves.
Personally, I am excited to be working with some amazing researchers who employ ethnographic approaches to understand information security in different contexts and social settings.
As part of the Ethnography Group, we will be running a Reading Group, where we will be discussing a range of ethnographic texts while bringing these into conversation with information security.