Observational Research

Choose a laundromat, any laundromat is fine but you might want to choose one in a neighbourhood that you are interested in working with later in the semester.

Go to the laundromat and do your laundry. Be attentive to what becomes clear and not for you. How is your environment reacting to you? How is that making you feel? During the time that you wash your clothes observe the space that you are in. What characters are you noting? How are people interacting with the space? What is the laundromat telling you about the neighbourhood in general? Try different positions in the space and see if you can employ any of the techniques presented by Andrea. How does tapping into different senses impact your experience?

Present an ethnography of your experience. How would you describe the “ritual” of cleaning for a person who has never been to a laundromat before? Try to employ Clifford Geertz concept, “thick description,” as you describe the situation and make sure to include more than the visual sense. You are welcome to include doodles and small sketches that you use during this time but the assignment is primarily a written ethnography.

From your observation, what assumptions have you been forced to question?

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