A new phase in POPREBEL ethnography: calling a whole-team meeting on Friday 15th

The project is nearing its end. After a discussion with @Jan and @Nica, we agreed that it’s time to refocus our work on data analysis and writing. Additionally, we agreed that the start of the war in Ukraine, February 24th, is a natural watershed date for data collection: it is unclear if any interview collected after that date really belongs in the same corpus as one collected earlier in the project. At the same time, there are side projects happening (like @SZdenek’s “Sexuality in the media”), and we need to get to a firm overview of how WP2 is interacting with other WPs, who does what, when, and in which WP.

So, I have a request and two recommendations. The request is: please could the whole @rebelethno team attend the coding meeting of Friday April 15th? We will use it not as a coding meeting, but as a “reset meeting”, to plan the activities in what’s left of POPREBEL. The objective of the planning is to make sure that, by the end of the project, we have paid proper attention not only to interviewing and coding, but to writing the main WP2 deliverable and using the latter as a the point of departure for (hopefully) several journal articles.

The first recommendation is: stop interviewing. We have two contrasting needs here, admittedly. Jan would like to have ~ 100 interviews per language, which now we don’t have; on the other hand, we need to make methodological choices about how to treat the pre/post war evidence. This will be covered in that meeting.

The second recommendation is: it would be helpful if you could come up with some early findings from your work. If someone asked you to list the three main findings from POPREBEL’s ethnography so far, what would you answer? An example of that is @jitka.kralova’s post here.

Please use this thread for any questions prior to the reset meeting, and any discussion after we have had it.

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Hi Alberto,

We agree it would be great to discuss the next steps with the whole team and divide tasks, as certainly a lot of energy and effort will be needed for finalising the project.

However, to put some input from our side as ethnographers – the war as traumatic as it has been for many on the team – when it comes to our interviewees and respondents, this has only added an extra (and a very insightful) layer to our conversations. We disagree that it does not belong to the same corpus. We still look for our interviewees in the same online spaces, still discuss the ways in which the pandemic has impacted their socioeconomic reality and still discuss their political opinions. The war as a topic has in fact generated really interesting, relevant and interconnected insights. (In the CR context, Jitka already started noticing some significant overlaps between those in support of Russia’s invasion and those anti-covid/vax groups). To reach the 100 interviews by July (as we agreed with the team) should not be a problem – both me and @Jitka have between 60-70 now (they just have not been all uploaded on the website, because we need help with transcribing). When it comes to ‘wrapping up’, we already started to do our own nvivo analysis of interviews with Jitka and we are currently working on an article for the Focaal Journal and have been accepted to present our findings at two conferences (EASA and ASEES).

Perhaps we can organise a separate meeting with @Nica giver her a better insight into our fieldwork and the way we have proceeded throughout the past months.

This is just an immediate reaction on behalf of us as ethnographers and we can certainly discuss this further on the 15th.


This is a great example of why a discussion is necessary. In my view, July is too late. In July we need to have finished writing the deliverable, and dedicate September-December to dissemination. This is to avoid the classic reviewer comment “shame that the deliverables were not more widely disseminated”, etc.

I am happy to be proven wrong. But having half of the team that plans to be writing in October and the other half that wants to be finished by July is likely to lead to frustration and stress.

It seems however that most of the team wants to continue the study till later, finishing the fieldwork in July, the latest. It’s also good to remember that academic articles take time to ensure quality, while popular dissemination can start earlier on, without affecting continuing fieldwork. It is a common practice in academia to start with one article, then another, not all at once, so if we work on one paper now - like me and Jitka are - and then we will move to another in late somer, it’s going to be just alright. Also we may end faster, it depends how the fieldwork goes. As I mentioned, journal articles are one thing, conferences are another, and with those we are doing quite well. I am happy to use my media contacts in Poland and start talking about our research results, I guess this is also what we want when we talk about dissemination?

That’s kind of you Magda, but no, it’s not dissemination. In the EU jargon, dissemination means “academic publications”. Talking to the media is called “communication”. :slight_smile:

I can see that. The issue here is to find the right balance between that desire and the need for POPREBEL to play its endgame so as to not get any trouble from the reviewers. The nightmare would be to have major deliverables rejected in the FINAL review. This endangers cash flow (because the Commission blocks the payments until we have done: this might not be a problem for a wealthy university, but we are a small company and are already out on a limb because of the project’s extension); also, it makes it so that we have to work on deliverables in 2024 without being paid for it. Please do not brush this issue aside. We already had many rejected deliverables in POPREBEL, way more than in other EU projects I have been a part of – maybe our reviewers are a bit more stern than usual. It’s a real risk.

@Maniamana and @jitka – I would love to and have been planning on meeting with you to get a more in-depth sense of the tremendous ethnographic work you have been doing. Perhaps we can do that at some point before April 15th if the two of you are available.

It will be great to have a methodological discussion in the meeting around the pre War / post War issue. My general sense informed by my ethnographic training is, the start of the war is such a watershed moment, as @alberto put it, and such a “theory engine” as it might be called in anthropological literature, that it would be valuable to have the data separated out into the before and after because the connections visualized in Graphryder, as I understand it, are comprehensive and “synchronic”, and not chronologically arranged. It seems counter-intuitive to me to combine data preceding and following a shock of this scope in a data analysis system that doesn’t treat data diachronically.

Perhaps one of the options to talk about is to include the interviews that have been done between February 24 and now in the final report, but treated as a separate data set (a final chapter maybe).

In another thread this week there was an interesting discussion of coding an interview comprehensively versus broken up into smaller sequences, which might reflect how the interlocutors’ intention and experience more faithfully – in a way, this seems like a version of the same conundrum but on a mega scale.

In terms of whether and when there needs to be a hard stop date for interviews in light of logistical and scheduling considerations, rather than methodological ones, and having tangentially dealt with the bureaucratic wheels of EU-funded projects in the past, I understand @alberto 's concerns.

I would disagree - the core research topic is populism, it is not covid, nor war on Ukraine, nor housing conditions in respective countries - these three are just “topical spaces” where the populism and the individuals interact.

If there is some fear that pre- and post- war contributions will significantly differ, we can apply the time aspect in the network visualisation - which has been developed during the hackathon some months ago - to see before, after and alltogether. However, both pre- and post- are/should be about populism (not about covid or war per se) and thus they are / will be both relevant.


@Zdenek our point exactly!

Yes, let’s do it!! As @SZdenek points out there can be the time aspect added to the data, which actually also could tell us how significant the war is. And our participant observation and interviews do not reflect that this war is that much of an event for our interviewees.

Great – looking forward to that. Would Monday afternoon your time / morning your time be feasible for you, @Maniamana and @jitka ?

Overall it sounds like it makes sense to consider separately the methodological issues in terms of the stop date – I am very glad to hear that adding the time dimension to the data is possible, and I agree that can offer insight. And that can be considered and discussed separately from the project logistics concern @Alberto is voicing, with regard to the timeline for deliverables.

Hello all. There is a public holiday (connected with Easter) in Czechia, Poland and (I checked now) also in the UK on Friday the 15th next week. If everyone is OK with it, we can leave our meeting on 15th April.

If it will be in the afternoon as usual, 15.00 CET / 14.00 GMT, I will be most probably able to come. I will try to put Lea to my mother’s place or let her watch some movies if she stays with me.

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Heads up: on Monday afternoons the POPREBEL group has internal seminars. This particular Monday I am presenting an upcoming article by @Jan, @Richard, @melancon, @bpinaud and myself. @Nica, I think you would enjoy it. Sent you a calendar invite yesterday.

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Yes – looking forward to it! I was thinking maybe we could meet before then if @Maniamana and @jitka are available – like 14.00 or 14.30 CET.

Hi Nica,
Sure, 14.30 sounds good. I’ll send you a zoom link tomorrow, one hour before the meeting.


Thank you @jitka – looking forward to it.

May I join this afternoon for you presentation @alberto? Luckily I am available to join.
Where’s the paper right now? I lost track of it.


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Hi Nica,

I just saw the email that today’s POPREBEL seminar where Alberto is presenting starts at 15.00 CET (normally it’s at 15.30 i think). So should we meet at 14.00 today us three, so we have more time in case needed? :slight_smile:

No need to ask if you can join! It’s your paper!

No, no, it’s 16.00 CET, 15.00 in the UK.

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Hi @rebelethno,

Ahead of the upcoming Friday meeting, is there some sort of preliminary meeting agenda? More specifically, with regards to the ethnographic research findings (CZ, PL, GER) would you like us to prepare some kind of a brief summary/timeline to present during this call?

Also a kind request to @Jan and @alberto, it would be helpful to understand how much of our (ethnographers’) workload will be expected to dedicate to help @Nica with writing up the report, co-analysing the data, etc. basically helping to fulfil the WP2 deliverable and how much time should we dedicate to continuing our fieldwork post 24th of Feb.

We are each currently on 15 hours per week, so if more hours are needed from us, this needs to be included in the budget revision (asap). This should also include the help with transcriptions, which will save us a lot of time and hopefully can be agreed on by this Friday.

Thank you and have a good week :slight_smile:

This is a good idea. I see this meeting rather as a coordination one: how to treat the Feb 24th cutoff point, timeline of WP2 from here to the end of the project, organizational arrangements (equivalent to the Fridays meeting). I fear if we do that, plus the presentation of preliminary results, we might end up with a monster meeting. I seem to recall that Jan had proposed using the Monday’s seminars to present results, which makes sense because that is what they are for! @Nica, what do you think?

Indeed, this is one of the central items of the agenda. We’ll start by assessing what is still needed in order to deliver.