An Assemblage of Framings and Tamings: Multi-Sited Analysis of Infrastructures as a Methodology
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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The social life of methods–the idea that research methods are an important topic of inquiry in and of themselves – has been receiving increasing interest in scholarship on the organisation of the economy and social life, including Science and Technology Studies (STS). In STS, especially ethnographic methods have been important for decades. This article develops an ethnographic methodology for the study of a very new case that challenges the assumptions underpinning many STS ethnographies. This case is the networked energy infrastructure, and we speciﬁcally focus on its risk management and markets. Drawing upon recent STS interest in multi-sited ethnography, the article’s research design is termed the multi-sited analysis of infrastructures(MSAI),anditdevelopstheconceptsofframingandtamingtofocusonmeaning formation as mundane sense-making and as technicalised reasoning on different sites. We demonstrate these concepts in a multi-sited ethnography of energy infrastructure and its risk management and market activities in public regulation, special control rooms (including energy trading), and households. The article rounds up by explaining how the application of our methodology contributes to the advancement of interests in multi-sited ethnography, relating our research to the previous work in the ﬁelds of STS, infrastructure studies, and their methods.