POPREBEL Ethnography Team Update -- October 2020

Thanks all for a great meeting! Whole team present (@amelia @Jan @Wojt @Jirka_Kocian @SZdenek) including @alberto and a tiny guest star from @Wojt family :slight_smile:

These are the notes and to-dos from our call today, 9 October 2020:


Priority number one is a writeup of our ethnographic progress so far after our first full round of coding, and a plan for the next stage of the project. The method we will use is to limit our analysis to a smaller range of topics, allowing us to drill deep into them in a more sustained and continuous way and involve a wider demographic of participants.

The report will have a 3 part structure:

  1. An overview on the themes that have emerged on the platform so far, and your analysis of these themes. You are encouraged to use Graph Ryder screenshots for this section to illustrate the concepts and how they’ve connected so far. (see the NGI report as a possible model). Filtering the graph to 4 or 5 co-occurrences using the wheel at the top right corner is the easiest way to do this.

  2. A description of the narrowly focused topic areas that you would like to focus ethnographic attention on for the rest of the project, based upon the first round of coding.

  3. What themes, questions, and/or relationships you are hoping to explore in more depth through these more narrowly focused topic areas.

Please give us a deadline for when you will complete this – as soon as possible, since it has major effects on what the Community Management/Outreach and Engagement teams plan for the rest of the project. @nadia and @noemi, heads up that this is incoming and will be very focused on specific topics that you can focus on on going forward.

Exceptional Call

To finish the code review of the spreadsheet, we will have an extra call next week, at 8:30 USA Eastern, 1:30 UK, and 2:30 Prague/Warsaw.

Prior to the call, we will be having a call on Graphryder updates (time TBD) and @jan will send @amelia his reflection on parent-child relations.

All of our calls will take place on Zoom, at this link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/89020808871?pwd=OUFZMSt6N0ZEUWI2a2RhNnZXcmNzZz09

General Notes

Feel free to use these to help write your reports – they are your words from the call, as best as I could note them down!

Polish Forum Update

@Wojt reports that the Polish forum has generated discussion around the main themes of institutional failure and a general lack of support. Not many people feel they lead a decent life. People experience a lot of daily struggles: with healthcare, and with inadequate income, with housing.

People talk about the need to engage in dialogue and civilised debate, expressing a feeling that there is too much hate, a lack of solidarity, and a collapse of a sense of community.

There is also a noted divide between big and provincial cities, “Poland A” and “Poland B.” These divides are cultural and economic, and deeply felt. The failure of the state is a recurrent topic, via discussions of political inaction, institutional failure, and the destructiveness of neoliberal capitalism.

LGBT rights are another key issue, clashing with traditional values. @Jan is interested in exploring the connection between anti-intellectualism and mythologies around gender ideology (and anti-LGBT sentiment).

Czech Forum Update

@Jirka_Kocian expresses that the main themes emerging in the Czech forum are around healthcare, housing, and climate change. These are discussed in terms of intersocial relations and politics as they are expressed through everyday life.

Participants express problems with predatory behaviour from political elites to the state. There is a question of what the analogy might be to the system as a whole – its antisocial nature. Whether this is a representational problem of society or a measure of something broken.

Most participants on the platform are “coffeeshop intellectuals”, between 25-35 years of age, residing in major cities like Bruno and Prague.

They articulate a divide between sticking to the liberal narrative (and opposing populism) or calling for complete alternatives. They express open association with the green parties, or at least a sympathy with them.

@SZdenek thinks that some deeper conversation could be generated around the figure of the Prime Minster, who is the 2nd richest person in the Czech Republic. His media representation is also interesting.

COVID-19 is a major topic that he feels could generate deeper conversation and be a platform that brings in a diverse crowd. Through this a lot of topics could be approached:

  • gender, via work patterns, educaiton, leisure time, and a division of labour that is having to be negotiated/brings existing disparities to the fore, as childcare falls upon women much more.
  • housing, including intergenerational relations
  • healthcare - access and inequality, reflections on the system and its relation to politics
  • anti-LGBT sentiment and relationship to ethnic minorities and refugees - via scapegoating, etc. can also approach this via anti-intellectualism — particularly in the covid setting, around relationships to covid (e.g. is it a government/elite play for power or a legitimate public health issue)

This was widely agreed upon as a good approach for all the language fora. The theory being that people’s responses to covid — its effects on existing systems and practices, and what it tells us about those systems and practices in the first place— and the way they frame those politically will shed light on the ‘shadow of populism’ in each country. And having the topics be largely the same across countries creates a good comparative.


@amelia Can you please share with us a link to the NGI report?

And a new graphryder dashboard, courtesy of @hugi! https://graphryder.edgeryders.eu/poprebel


WOW! Nice. Now we can do a lot of analysis. Thank you @hugi

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@Jan, @Wojt, I just had a great call with Mania Góralska, a Polish digital anthropologist working on Poland and a former colleague of mine at Oxford. She’s doing really interesting work on COVID and politics in Poland, and I think we would benefit a lot from getting her on board (I imagine in a capacity a bit like I detail here). She already has a wealth of ethnographic data to share and a wide range of participants that she could bring onto the platform — we talked specifically about bringing in people from non-mainstream social media who feel like their covid skepticism / ‘alt-right’ style views are not welcomed on mainstream social media.

I want to set up a call with her and you to talk about how we can get her involved in the project, because I think she can help us reach the kinds of people we are hoping to. Are you free at all this week or next to talk?

Author: Magdalena H. Góralska, a digital anthropologist from Poland, a researcher at the Kozminski University, and a student at the University of Warsaw. She studies health communication across digital platforms since 2016 using ethnographic research methods. You can contact Magdalena at maniagoralska@gmail.com.

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Hey, that sounds great, exactly like the person we need!
I’m free tomorrow late afternoon/evening, which, I think, would suit @Jan as well.
He and I are having a meeting today, and we will discuss possible dates, ok?
When are you and Magda available?

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Sounds good! Next week would be best if you can manage it. Will see you both (or at least Jan?) in our meeting tomorrow, anyway, so we can touch base then.

I’ll be there as well.

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Hey, just to make sure. We’re meeting 2.30 CET or 3 CET?

Ah right, we decided to give it a try 30 minutes earlier for whoever could make it. I’ll change the event invitation. Thanks :slight_smile:

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Hey guys (especially @Amelia :slight_smile:), I tried to produce the Czech write-up, @SZdenek feel free to modify it in any way you feel, and of course I will welcome any comments from the others.

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ZOOM says “The host has another meeting in progress” and does not want to let me in :confused:

I’m getting that too. Let me send another link. One second.


@Jirka_Kocian @Jan @Wojt @Richard @SZdenek

if anyone would be interested, it is out:) https://www.academia.edu/44346301/Include_me_out_theatre_as_sites_of_resistance_to_right_wing_populism_in_Estonia_the_Czech_Republic_and_Hungary?auto_accept_coauthor=true

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Hello Amelia and everyone, unfortunately, I have to skip today’s meeting, as for the planned agenda

  1. @amelia call for ethnographers, I hope you received my answers via e-mail, I will resend it via ER as well just to make sure we got some 12 applications, some of them quite promising
  2. we did another round of code review with @SZdenek, finished the translations, so he will have some notes

Hope you are all doing fine, Jirka