Great ethnographies / ethnographers of *systems*

Great question from Twitter: “Who are your favorite ethnographers of systems?”

Examples given:

Here are some I’d suggest (interpreting both systems and ethnography fairly loosely), with a favorite book from each:

Jenny Odell - attention

Jackie Wang - capitalism & justice system

Bernd Heinrich - forests

Keith Johnstone - theater & improv

Annie Dillard - nature & seasons

Thomas Kuhn - scientific revolutions

Steward Brand - time & civilization & the long now

Douglas Hofstadter - language & translation

The one I’m most familiar with is Mary Roach, who feels like a great generalist ethnographer and goes from field to field.

First one I read was Stiff, about corpses/cadavers. Gulp was also an interesting journey through the digestive system.

Caitlyn Doughty is the other I’m familiar with, a mortician who writes about death in a positive way. Has a few books out

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