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The Stanford Ethnography Lab provides resources and support for collaborative research projects and team ethnographies.

Current projects include:

  • Tech and Inequality. Digital technologies (re)shape social life in unexpected ways. Through a series of studies, faculty and students are investigating the effects of technology on social inequality, cultural diffusion, and everyday lived experience. How does online cultural production reify racial stereotypes and gender disparities? How do digital social media transform traditional processes of urban poverty and violence? How do digital technologies connect individuals and groups who might otherwise never interact?

    • Recent publications:

      • Lane, Jeff, and Forrest Stuart. 2022. "How Social Media Use Mitigates Urban Violence: Communication Visibility and Third-Party Intervention Processes in Digital Urban Contexts." Qualitative Sociology 45(3): 457-475. 

      • Stuart, Forrest. 2020. Ballad of the Bullet: Gangs, Drill Music, and the Power of Online Infamy. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

      • Stuart, Forrest. 2020. "Code of the Tweet: Urban Gang Violence in the Social Media Age." Social Problems 67(2): 191-207.  

  • Big Data | Small Data. To many, computational methods and ethnographic methods seem highly dissimilar, perhaps even antithetical. However, through a number of distinct but related empirical projects, faculty and staff are challenging this notion, investigating how these two approaches complement one another in unexpected ways. Big data analyses can be used to "test" hypotheses uncovered during small-n ethnographic studies; meanwhile, up-close fieldwork provides crucial ground truth to big data, offering unexpected insights into key social mechanisms.

    • Recent publications:

      • Stuart, Forrest, Alicia Riley, and Hossein Pourreza. 2020. "A Human-Machine Partnered Approach for Identifying Social Media Signals of Elevated Traumatic Grief in Chicago Gang Territories." PLOS ONE 15(7): e0236625.  

  • Agency and Activism in Bayview-Hunters Point. Located on the southeastern edge of San Francisco, the Bayview-Hunters Point neighborhood is one of the last historically black communities left amid rapid gentrification. Through archival, interview, and ethnographic methods, faculty and students are analyzing a range of understudied (and counter-intuitive) roles played by grassroots activism in preserving and improving this community amid various economic, political, and social threats.   

    • Recent Publications:

      • Loder, Kimya, and Forrest Stuart. 2023. "Displacement Frames: How Residents Perceive, Explain, and Respond to Un-Homing in Black San Francisco." Urban Studies 60(6): 1013-1030.

  • The Social Life of Neighborhoods. Bay Area neighborhoods are rich with historical, sociological, and anthropological insights. Team members are developing a web-based application that will allow public audiences to learn about and explore local social life and change, one neighborhood at a time. Using a combination of mapping techniques, oral histories, observations, and documentary film and photography, students are building online content that is both educational and entertaining. A large amount of this content is developed in the course, "The Social Life of Neighborhoods" (SOC 176; AFRICAAM 76B; CSRE 176B; URBANST 179). Students interested in the project are encrouraged to enroll.