PJ Evans

Freelance Film workers in Beirut: An Ethnographic Network Analysis by Arek Dakessian,

Posted on | March 4, 2014 | No Comments

These are some rough notes on this presentation from a series of seminars run by the Social Network Analysis Group in Scotland (SNAS). The intro to the talk states:

Arek is a first year PhD student in Sociology at the University of Edinburgh, and his research mainly revolves around networks of cultural production in cities, specifically Beirut. He aims to unpack the relationship between processes of cultural production and consumption and the day-to-day political economy of his city.

His presentation titled “Freelance Film workers in Beirut: An Ethnographic Network Analysis” is the same title he gave a paper currently under review, but his presentation would focus more on doing a dual mode social network analysis based on ethnographic data and some of his dissertation findings.

This is a small informal seminar group. My notes will be very partial and live (and with poor spelling and grammer).

Announced that SNAS as received some funding to become more research-focused and link with the other universities in Scotland and to run two workshops in 2014. The workshops will be focused on what people are doing in Scotland on SNA and whether there is potential for collaborative research.

Arek’s research is on networks of cultural producers and ¬†mainly film-makers in Beirut. He will be talking about the experience of practicing and the research experience of conducting SNA, especially shifting from ethnography and mixed method network analysis.

Narratives of Bierut dominated by bombs and nightlifes. The reality is more complex (as you’d expect). Consists of approx 18 different sects cutting across cultural and ethic boundaries; also 80k + non-national domestic staff (who are not allowed to practice their religions as not generally one of the 18 official sects; also Palestinian refugees based in camps as well as refugees from Syria. So have clear interplay between politics and culture and complex networks of cultural production.

Arek’s ethnographic research on social capital in networks of cultural production – essentially how to gain access to those networks and to “make it”.Initially completed some basic SNA involving centrality but not fully developed.

Ethnographic SNA is difficult in terms of sampling and bounding the network as well as data gathering. Using textual data such as credit lists linking people, objects and events. To ethnographically understand “what is going on” – identifies who is not included in the textual data.

Seeks to enhance SNA through using textual data, eg, the politics of network and multi-plexity and the double ’embeddedness’ of SN – networks within networks. In the case of Beirut, sect/ religious networks also very important in understanding the networks of cultural production.

Will be undertaking dual mode of network analysis and then to explore the semiotics running behind these networks. So the interaction of politics and cultural production can be explored.

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