Event ethnography: Studying power and politics through events

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Event ethnography is a methodological tool that involves ethnographic research on or at events. “Events” are activities, gatherings, and collective experiences that are limited in time and are highly diverse in their scope, organization, and thematic organization. Because of their temporary nature, events serve as unique venues for the convergence of actors who are usually spatially, temporally, and socially dispersed. Ethnographic research at events thus offers scholars a useful window onto how power relations are formed through the concentrated interaction among individuals, ideas, affects, and infrastructures. This article defines “event ethnography” and surveys the existing literature that examines events through ethnographic research. It suggests that taking events seriously for fieldwork has the potential to open up new questions for political geographers and other scholars interested in power and politics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere12729
JournalGeography Compass
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • ethnography
  • event
  • event ethnography
  • positionality
  • power
  • qualitative research

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Water Science and Technology
  • General Social Sciences
  • Earth-Surface Processes
  • Computers in Earth Sciences
  • Atmospheric Science


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