The Digital Ethnographer
Hypermedia offers ethnographers a powerful new medium for authoring. Its potentialities suggest various levels of convergence with the concerns of critical theory and post-paradigm ethnography. Nevertheless, the project of authoring academic ethnographic hypertexts is fraught with difficulty, not least due to the difficulties of formulating a new rhetorics which can offer the same persuasive power as the conventional printed narrative. Hypertext opens up particular kinds of authoring innovations, such as the linking together of data, analysis and interpretation in the same medium, and the juxtapositioning of materials in written, visual and aural forms. A new multi-semiotic ethnography is becoming possible through digital technologies, which will have to develop new ways of ordering academic argumentation and analysis. We argue that finding creative means of assembling narrative sequences will be germane to the 'art' of hyper-authoring for ethnography, as it has been for the book and the film (although in different ways). We offer some insights from our own experiences of constructing an 'ethnographic hypermedia environment' as a means of illustrating some of these dilemmas.