Abstract: Efforts to theorize globalization remain limited by an ethnographic data set obtained primarily through direct sensory experience. This article argues that such empiricism persists because the difference between connections and relations as methodological constructs remains blurred. Their conflation precludes a fuller view of how apparatuses organize global processes. Apparatuses decompose direct social connections and replace them with shifting constellations of indirect social relations. Unlike connections, relations are mediated by abstract third agents and have an arbitrary relationship in/to space and time. This weakens participant-observation’s ability to capture an apparatus’s operations. As a remedy, the article suggests ‘nonlocal’ ethnography, which examines how disconnected actors utilize an apparatus’s mediating agents – e.g. statistical calculations, probabilities estimates, high-scale moral narratives, and interpretative paradigms – to channel the global circulation of migrants. The argument for the apparatus’s theoretical value and nonlocal ethnography’s methodological value is illustrated through an illegal migration journey from Senegal to Italy.
Feldman, Gregory, 2011, If ethnography is more than participant-observation, then relations are more than connections: The case for nonlocal ethnography in a world of apparatuses, Volume:11, Journal Article, viewed 02 December 2023, https://www.nintione.com.au/?p=5059.