Anna Hidalgo Shamus Khan

Blindsight ethnography and exceptional moments

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In this essay we outline two conceptual frameworks that may help ethnographers do their research and analysis during Covid-19. First, we develop the concept of «blindsight ethnography», a means through what ethnographers may be able to detect that which they cannot see. Second, we turn to Ermakoff’s (2014) conceptualization of «the exceptional» – cases that stand apart due to their peculiar nature, but which allow for classificatory, paradigmatic, and heuristic innovation. Drawing upon Hidalgo’s experience of doing ethnographic research in the wake of Covid-19, we outline some ways to navigate and even leverage this current moment, and articulate three practical steps ethnographers can take in these exceptional times.


  • ethnography
  • Covid-19
  • methods
  • exceptional
  • Peru


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