Author: marmar1028

  • In the field: the challenges of ethnographic research in rural Ecuador

    This is the story of how I became an active member of the Ecuadorian real estate market.  You see, I went to Vilcabamba – a tiny town in the south Andes – to study the emergence (the construction?) of a modern real estate market.  The town is a microcosm of what is going in many other places in South America (and Asia, for that matter), which is that increasingly more regulated real estate markets are replacing informal land sales, and the corresponding changes in land representation inevitably alter the cultural fabric of the towns and eventually the countries where this takes place.   I have my opinions about the phenomena, which I tried very hard to keep out of my research, but needless to say, they do not align well with being a part of it.   Looking back, it seems that once I was in the system, regardless of my initial role as an observer, I soon was balancing two additional, and conflicting roles – that of watchdog and that of agent.

  • Culture and Social Media: The Issue of Privacy

    This morning at the ICCT intercultural coffee hour, the Yahoo! Fellows presented some interesting data and analysis about how users in the BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, and China) countries are using social networking. A significant aspect of their research is on privacy, both how users choose exercise their privacy online, but also how it is used by social network sites to market to new users (e.g . Facebook with stricter privacy settings, MySpace with looser ones.)

  • Weekly Roundup: Blog Picks for October 17, 2008

    This week, the place of politics


    • Stanley Fish, at the New York Times, tries to sort out recent university memos barring professors from wearing campaign buttons, attending campus political rallies, and even placing political bumper stickers on their cars. After discussing several worthy (and not so worthy view points), he concludes that it’s contextual: “It’s a policy matter, not a moral or philosophical matter, and as long as the policy is reasonably related to the institution’s purposes, it raises no constitutional issues at all.”

  • Choice of Digital Communication Space in Academia


    We’ve all had the experience of walking into a room full of people and having every single person look up and stare at us. Most of us taking CCT courses this semester have also had the experience of pushing the publish button, knowing that in a few seconds, some number of people will be reading (and necessarily, judging) our blog post. Both are intimidating, even in the most casual or intimate of circumstances.

  • Weekly Roundup: Blog Picks for September 26, 2008

    This week's blog heroes, doing good one click at a time

    • In honor of their 10 year anniversary, Google announced their Project 10^100, a contest based on the idea that “helping helps everybody, helper and helped alike.” They are committing $10 million dollars to fund a winning proposal that “will help as many people as possible.”
    • Gaurav Mishra, the Yahoo! Fellow in International Values, Communications, Technology, and Global Internet critiques the cliché of “using technology to do good” and proposes a framework to help think systemically and strategically about the possibilities of communication technologies to “create disruptive models of social change.”
    • Might the Planned Parenthood/Sarah Palin (subversive) fundraising campaign that Ashley Bowen blogs about be an example of the kind of disruptive model of social change that Gaurav refers to? She explains: “This campaign combines the two actions campaign organizers are always begging for: donate some cash and/or write a letter. Now, in just a few clicks you can do both.”

  • Hypothesis Based vs. Grounded Theory

    I don’t have an academic background in theory. My undergraduate degree was in international business at a practice-oriented university where the only primary texts I was ever required to read were annual reports. Learning how to manipulate theory was and remains one of the reasons I chose CCT. But the application of theory, as any other tool, is continually evolving which makes mastering it that much more difficult.

  • Why We Blog, Part 2 of 4: Why I (normally don’t) blog (and 3 reasons why it will be different this time)

    My blog history is best compared to a telenovela. Passionate beginnings followed by drawn out break-ups. Promises of commitment interrupted by threats of abandonment. Short-lived reunions interspersed with long spells of neglect.

    Starting with my first blog in my sophomore year of college, I spent five years switching from one blog service to another, hoping that a change in applications would lead to a change in habit – I was the bad craftsman blaming my tools.