Qualitative, ethnographic research methods are rooted in relational contacts within social networks. Such contemporary social networks are being facilitated by digital devices and the related applications designed for interpersonal connection and communication. Online games have also emerged as a result of the proliferation of these digital technologies. Pokémon GO is one such game that relies on networking and geographical/spatial exploration. Gameplay brings people together into both physical and virtual spaces, thus forming expanding networks. Further, Pokémon GO rewards social and gaming competencies while cutting across networks based on other, more typical affinities and identities. Based on my recent experiences, I contend that activities such as playing Pokémon GO, which mediate virtual and physical spaces, are shaping ethnographic encounters and fieldwork research. This article explores how handheld digital technology mediates relationships and contacts, thus facilitating folkloristic and anthropological research methods and data collection in the field.


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pp. 63-85
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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