digital anthropology


What I’m reading at the moment. Fascinating stuff. Blurb on the back says…

“Through a range of case studies from Facebook to Second Life to Google Earth, Digital Anthropology explores how human and digital can be defined in relation to one another, from avatars and disability; cultural differences in how we use social networking sites or practise religion; the practical consequences of the digital for politics, museums, design, space and development to new online world and gaming communities. The book also explores the moral universe of the digital, from new anxieties to open-source ideals. Digital Anthropology reveals how only the intense scrutiny of ethnography can overturn assumptions about the impact of digital culture and reveal its profound consequences for everyday life.”

In essence, the book describes how far from alienating or radically altering human experience, technology seems to be a reinforcing agent of that humanity, and in the contexts of different cultures. Technology merely reveals pre-existing tensions, good or bad, inherent in the human condition. Like fire, you can cook your food and share it with your neighbour, or you can burn down your neighbour’s house.


4 thoughts on “digital anthropology

  1. Thanks for sharing. I, too, am doing some research on digital media. In particular, I’m looking at the underlying truth of online diaries and personal blogs. Perhaps digital anthropology might shed some light on the topic.

    • You’ve highlighted a really interesting area for research – deep and dark questions about the projection of idealised selves. Do you know the Digital Anthropologist blog, which has lots of info? Worth a look.

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