Understanding Nature and Societies through Ethno-graphy: A Transdisciplinary Perspective

The video showcases the ‘ethno-graphic’ approach as an agency-induced participatory tool, fostering transdisciplinarity in (urban) socioecological research and actions. It applies lessons from practical projects to validate the novelty of the framework. The approach is aligned to the PEIP agenda of using ethnography and visualization techniques in exploring urban space, and advancing urban sustainability especially for complex urbanscapes of the global South. Here, the PEIP project team from IIT Kharagpur – Jenia Mukherjee and Shreyashi Bhattacharya – demonstrate empirical examples from socioecological settings of (eastern) India towards, exploration, dissemination, and curation of (urban) nature, integrating conventional ethnography with participatory videography, photography, cartography, and transect walks. Finally, the video also introduces the 5Is of ‘ethno-graphy’: Interactive, Immersive, Innovative, Informative, and Inclusive; substantiating the step-by-step application of the method and its efficacy in forging academia-practitioner exchange and engagement in actuating socioecological sustainability.


This group of students took up the roles of wetland researcher, scientist, and cooperative fisher – immersed in adda (a Bengali dialect that implies informal or semi-formal conversations on a specific topic) to exchange and engage on livelihoods provisions and possibilities in this wastewaterscape. Each actor familiarizes and gets familiarized with the others’ perspectives, facilitating knowledge flows and co-creation. © Jenia Mukherjee & Shreyashi Bhattacharya: Theatrical performance by PEIP students on the theme “Marshes and markets: Livelihoods practices in EKW”.
The model showcases divergent livelihood options such as waste-fed agriculture, fishery on effluent, and horticultural activities that ensure the survival and sustenance of the wetlands communities. Applying SMUS goggles, the students looked into this space, and collaborating with practitioners ventured into the potential employment-generating opportunities for the local folks. This illustrative model is an output of the ethno-graphic exercise. © Jenia Mukherjee & Shreyashi Bhattacharya: A 3D model prepared by students to demonstrate ecological diversity in the wetlands.