Eight months after the flood at Wilson’s Promontory, Tidal River has been (kind of) re-opened to the public. People are able to stay in the park itself (fortunately, this includes researchers), but many of the surrounding trails are still in need of repair.

Status update aside: I spent two days in the park this week conducting interviews with staff. The interviews consisted of two parts: using the diary entries from a previous study as probes in interviews, to dig in to what the life of these media objects might be within the organisation; and an examination of the “personal geography” of the park, for each interviewee. This was elicited through drawings of the park – more about these in another post.

Entries as probes

I just want to give a brief summary and background on one of the methods I used in the interviews. The entry-as-probe section is a basic attempt at “following-the-thing” (Marcus, 1995) – an ethnographic method for tracking digital and media based objects across multiple sites, in order to discover their role in social processes and contexts. The key phrase here is multiple sites; despite my study area being a geographical location, its focus is on the social and organisational contexts around this location. It is not investigating what happens in the cartesian representation of the park (i.e. what you see on a traditional map), but what happens in a broader social context in order to manage that area. Without getting too sidetracked on writing about my actual thesis: it’s important to investigate the flow of information and people that make park management possible. Marcus’s method boosts the status of an “object” (in this case, a dairy entry) to an equal actor in the construction of meaning, rather than a tool to be used by people as they themselves do the construction. As such I want to investigate the potential role of these created “media” objects in the ability to trigger different interpretations for people in varying roles across the organisation.

The next step in following-the-thing is the city office. Taking entries from the park and putting them in front of people unfamiliar with it will hopefully provide some interesting insights into the different understandings they have about Wilson’s Prom.

This is all in attempt to examine the different geographies that exists within Parks Victoria. The differences between the park and the city will be a key one, I’m predicting.



Marcus, G. (1995). JSTOR: Annual Review of Anthropology, Vol. 24 (1995), pp. 95-117. Annual review of anthropology.




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