The TikTok of Teaching: The Pedagogical Possibilities of Collaborative Digital Ethnography


  • Elena Liber UCL
  • Yathukulan Yogarajah University College London



Working collaboratively with students, lecturers, and others, to conduct digital ethnography enriches the ethnographies produced, expands pedagogical possibilities, and allows us to rethink how we teach and do research in anthropology. This Special Issue is an output of such a collaborative attempt. In this Editorial we introduce the TikTok Ethnography Collective and the collaborative mode of research and learning we established in September 2020. The articles we have collated demonstrate that collaborative ethnographic methods are the ideal tool for researching algorithmically shaped digital spaces. But more than this, by sharing our collective experience, we make the case for incorporating collaborative methods into anthropological teaching and learning in order to disrupt traditional, hierarchical models of education and research. We propose that inclusion of students in the research process is imperative for facilitating a safe, creative sandbox environment that allows staff and students to explore and formulate theories and reflections somewhat liberated from the expectations around who should and should not be the expert. We invite readers to join us in considering the broader implications of embracing collaborative research and teaching methods.


2023-11-13 — Updated on 2023-11-17