Merriam Webster Dictionary defines “fieldwork” as “the gathering of anthropological or sociological data through the interviewing and observation of subjects in the field.” This is also a fairly accurate description of what I will be doing.
This research project is based on multi-sited ethnography. Ethnography means participating in individuals’ lives, observing, discussing and collecting documents and artefacts (Hammersley & Atkinson; Amit 2000). Multi-sited means that I will be collecting data in several different places.
As digital nomadism is a mobile phenomenon, the social scientific approach towards it also needs to be such. This project’s research design, methodology and theoretical frame is build on and inspired by critical literature on conducting a social scientific study on hyper-mobile formations, objects and subjects (D’Andrea et al. 2011; Wimmer & Glick Schiller 2003).
Multi-sited ethnography has been of particular interest in mobilities research, giving rise to “mobile methods”, associated with a range of ethnographic but also performative and participative techniques (Merriman 2014). Such techniques enable researchers to “more accurately track, know and represent the embodied actions, practices and experiences of mobile research subjects” (p. 169). Also, I have been inspired by D’Andrea’s understanding of nomadic ethnography that he defines as “a methodology that tries to integrate a nomadic sensibility towards routes and rituals of mobility, with a notion of macro-ethnography that deploys methods of multi-sitedness and translocality in context” (2006; 2007: 33).
In plain language, this means that I will be interviewing and spending time with digital nomads in several places. I will also interview people, who work in the “digital nomad-industry”, such as co-working space owners or yet policymakers designing electronic citizenship programmes. I will do observation in various events, write field notes and collect online material dealing with digital nomadism.
Sources ( => click here for more academic publications on digital nomadism):
Amit, V. (2010 ed.) Constructing the Field. Ethnographic Fieldwork in the Contemporary World, Routledge: London.
D’Andrea, A. et al. (2011) Methodological challenges and innovations in mobilities research, Mobilities, 6: 2, 149-160.
D’Andrea A. (2007) Global Nomads: Techno and New Age as Transnational Countercultures in Ibiza and Goa, Routledge, London.
D’Andrea, A. (2006) Neo-nomadism: A theory of post-identitarian mobility in the global age, Mobilities, vol. 1, issue 1, 95-119.
Hammersley, M. & Atkinson, P. (1995) Ethnography: Principles in practice, Routledge: London.
Merriman, P. (2014) Rethinking mobile methods, Mobilities, 9: 2, 167-187.
Wimmer, A. & Glick Schiller, N. (2003) Methodological nationalism and beyond: nation-state building, migration and the social sciences. Global networks, 2: 4, 391-334.