This case study examines the utility of critical ethnography in a research project aimed at understanding the rise of networked activism among new-media savvy citizens in the context of Hong Kong. It offers a critical assessment of both the strengths and concerns in applying critical ethnography to the study of contentious-political engagement in the contemporary era. This study begins with an overview of the research project and explains its research goals. It then illustrates the ways in which critical ethnography informed this research both epistemologically and methodologically, before discussing its research methods and practical strategies. It is contended that critical ethnography can be useful to researchers who seek to promote progressive social change by offering alternative knowledge in the academic setting, albeit some of its ethical and pragmatic considerations. A number of recommendations are provided to guide research into the lived experiences and actual practices of citizens who engage in contentious politics.