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Ethnography of Collective Security Practices

Ethnography of Collective Security Practices

Grounded in ethnography, this research area explores how (information) security is negotiated, shaped and practised within groups. Information security is understood as a collective endeavour, grounded in trust relations and shared security goals within groups; where security for the group is negotiated between group members and where individual security notions are shaped by those of the group as well as their social settings. In other words, information security experienced and practised collectively. 

Through extended ethnographic fieldwork, this research area engages the often 'hidden' and unvoiced groups and communities not generally considered in the design of security technologies. In particular, it focuses on labour communities, isolated and disconnected communities as well as protesters and higher-risk groups (see also “Social Foundations of Cryptography” research area).

Ethnography is uniquely placed to uncover such collective and situated practices through extended field studies, driven by immersion and observation with and within the groups it aims to understand. It enables long-term explorations of, for example, what security looks and feels like for the groups under study. How security is experienced and voiced and how it is negotiated and shared between group members. How security technologies are used and for what purposes within groups. What security expectations are held within groups and how they manifest themselves.

  • Nicola Wendt, Rikke Bjerg Jensen, Lizzie Coles-Kemp: Civic Empowerment through Digitalisation: The Case of Greenlandic Women. ACM CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, CHI 2020.
  • Rikke Bjerg Jensen, Lizzie Coles-Kemp, Nicola Wendt, Makayla Lewis: Digital Liminalities: Understanding Isolated Communities on the Edge. ACM CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, CHI 2020.
  • Rikke Bjerg Jensen: Fragmented digital connectivity and security at sea. Marine Policy 2020
  • Rikke Bjerg Jensen, Nicola Wendt: Why Ethnography Matters to Information Security. ISG Newsletter 2021.
  • Rikke Bjerg Jensen: Navigating Security at Sea: Insights from an Ethnographic Study. ISG Newsletter 2019. https://royalholloway.ac.uk/media/9162/isg_18-19_artwork_screensinglepages.pdf

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