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Séminaire NEURO – Lionel Obadia

July 4 2024 | 11h00 - 12h30

“Do robots offer a good opportunity for ethnographic investigation?” reflections based on research in progress

Lionel Obadia (Université Lumière Lyon 2 / LARHRA)

The ethnography of robots is a fast-developing field of investigation, but one with currently ill-defined boundaries: research based on direct experience of robots (in the lab / in the wild), observation, analysis and reporting, is gradually becoming established in the landscape of methodological approaches to the study of robots ‘in society’ or human-machine interactions. However, not everything referred to as ethnography is based on exactly the same empirical approaches or contextualised theorising. Using a few examples taken from my own fieldwork, in laboratories, museums and socialisation spaces in France and Japan, I will try to show the scope and limits of an anthropologically inspired ethnography, in the case of robotic or robotised fieldwork, possibly compared with other similar environmental ethnographies.

Lionel Obadia is a professor of social and cultural anthropology at the Université Lumière Lyon 2, specialising in religions, magic and witchcraft. He is the author of over 200 publications and several books, including Bouddhisme et Occident (L’Harmattan), Shalom Bouddha! (Berg), La religion et La sorcellerie : mythes et réalités (Le Cavalier bleu), La marchandisation de Dieu (CNRS), L’anthropologie des religions et La spiritualité (La Découverte).


CY St-Martin, ETIS meeting room
avenue François-Mitterand
Cergy, France
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