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Panel: “Media anthropology’s legacies and concerns” @ EASA 2016 Conference Milan

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The EASA Media Anthropology Network’s panel “Media anthropology’s legacies and concerns” at the 14th European Association of Social Anthropologists (EASA) conference in Milan (20-23 July, 2016) includes the following papers:

  • Alberto Micali & Nicolò Pasqualini (University of Lincoln): Excavating the centrality of materiality for a post-human ‘anthropomediality’: an ecological approach
  • John McManus (University of Oxford): Media anthropology and the ‘ludic turn’
  • Philipp Budka (University of Vienna): Media anthropology’s legacies and concerns in digital times
  • Erkan Saka (Istanbul Bilgi University): In the intersection of anthropology’s disciplinary crisis and emergence of internet studies
  • Balazs Boross (Erasmus University Rotterdam): Television culture and the myth of participation: (re)making media rituals
  • Heloisa Buarque de Almeida (University of Sao Paulo): Politics of meanings of gender violence in Brazil
  • Richard MacDonald (Goldsmiths, University of London): Moving image projection, sacred sites and marginalised publics: the ritual economy of outdoor cinema in Thailand
  • Jonathan Larcher (Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales): The politics of digital visual culture in Romania: from a digital ethnography to a historical media anthropology

Find the paper abstracts at: http://nomadit.co.uk/easa/easa2016/panels.php5?PanelID=4286

About the panel

Media anthropology’s legacies and concerns
(Media Anthropology Network)

Convenors
Philipp Budka (University of Vienna)
Elisenda Ardevol (UOC, Barcelona)
John Postill (RMIT University Melbourne)

In line with the theme of the 14th EASA conference the EASA Media Anthropology Network panel seeks to put fundamental concerns of media anthropology back into the centre of attention. Central themes of media anthropology have already been identified and discussed in earlier works: e.g. the mediation of power and conflict, media related forms of production and consumption, the relationship between media and religion, and the mediation of knowledge and forms of expression (e.g. Askew & Wilk 2002, Ginsburg et al. 2002, Peterson 2003, Rothenbuhler & Coman 2005). These topics can be connected to questions about hierarchies, power relationships, norms and political agency in media contexts; the materiality of media (technologies), exchange and reciprocity, media work; media rituals and the ritualization of media practices and events; the construction of histories and traditions in relation to media practices and the meanings of media communication for oral culture(s).

By (re-)focusing on such topics in a contemporary context, this panel invites contributions also to discuss broader questions. What has been “the point of media anthropology” as an anthropological subdiscipline and as an interdisciplinary field of research (Postill & Peterson 2009)? What are media anthropology’s legacies so far and what are its historical roots? What role does ethnography play in the anthropology of media and how has this relationship changed from a methodological and epistemological perspective? Thus, this panel contributes to the constitution of media anthropology as one of anthropology’s most thriving subdisciplines. Secondly, it adds to the understanding of media anthropology’s legacies, epistemologies, theories, methodologies and possible futures.

Askew, K., Wilk, R. (eds.) 2002. The anthropology of media: A reader. Malden, MA: Blackwell.
Ginsburg, F., Abu-Lughod, L., Larkin, B. (eds.) 2002. Media worlds: Anthropology on new terrain. Berkeley: University of California Press.
Peterson, M. A. 2003. Anthropology and mass communication. Media and myth in the new millennium. New York & Oxford: Berghahn.
Postill, J., Peterson, M. A. 2009. What is the point of media anthropology? Social Anthropology 17(3): 334-344.
Rothenbuhler, E., Coman, M. (eds.) 2005. Media Anthropology. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Seminar: Indigenous Media 2016

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Again, I have the pleasure to teach the Seminar “Indigenous Media” for the MA Program in Visual and Media Anthropology at the Free University Berlin. Find below a brief description of the course.

In the seminar “Indigenous Media” students get an introduction to indigenous media technologies. In ten seminar units selected questions, issues, and problems are discussed: How do indigenous people produce, distribute, and utilize audiovisual media? How has ethnographic and anthropological film making changed? What role do politics, power, globalization, and (post-)colonialism play in the production and use of indigenous media? How do indigenous people utilize media to construct and negotiate their individual and collective identities? How are indigenous cultures and languages represented through media? And how do indigenous people appropriate and (co-)develop digital technologies in times of increasing globalization?

We start with the contextualization of indigenous media within the framework of an anthropology of media. In the second unit students are introduced to selected debates about the meaning and relevance of (mass) media for indigenous people and their culture. We then discuss ethnographic film making and visual anthropology in the context of indigenous people’s changing role from “objects” for ethnographic films to partners in media projects. The fourth unit deals with the phenomena of (post-)colonialism and decolonization and their implications for indigenous media. This discussion leads us to the self-controlled production of indigenous media and its relevance for issues such as (self-)representation, appropriation, control, and empowerment. Globalization, modernity, and related questions of collective indigenous identity construction – “indigeneity” – are the topics of the next unit. The following three sessions are closely connected and discuss aspects of identity, community, networking, ownership, activism, empowerment, aesthetics, poetics, and popular culture in relation to indigenous media. In the final unit students learn about the importance of digital technologies and infrastructures for indigenous people, their activist projects, and networking initiatives.

Through several case studies students are introduced to the similarities and differences of indigenous media projects throughout the world. These case studies take us to different regions, countries, and continents: from Nunavut, Canada, and the US to the Caribbean, Guatemala, Mexico, and Brazil, to Nigeria, Myanmar, Australia and Finland. The seminar’s assignments include the reading of selected articles, the watching of films and videos, and the discussion of these in small essays. The online conference tool Adobe Connect is used to present and discuss aspects of texts, films, and essays.

Call for Abstracts: Edited Volume “Theorising Media and Conflict”

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Theorising Media and Conflict

Editors:
John Postill (Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT))
Philipp Budka (University of Vienna)
Birgit Bräuchler (Monash University)

In a recent survey of the interdisciplinary literature on media and conflict, Schoemaker and Stremlau (2014) found that most existing studies display Western biases, normative assumptions and unsubstantiated claims about the impact of media in conflict situations. With their cross-cultural studies, ethnographic methods and ground-up theorising, anthropologists are well placed to make a strong contribution to the advancement of this area of scholarship.

Although a growing number of anthropologists have begun to study media in conflict and post-conflict contexts – working on topics such as news reporting, cyberwar, internet activism, social protest, video-making, radio propaganda, or conflict transformation – so far they have done so in relative isolation from one another. The result is a fragmentation of the field and a dissipation of efforts. The aim of this interdisciplinary volume is to bring together media anthropologists and other media and communication scholars working to collectively address the elusive relationships between media and conflict. On the one hand, the volume is a continuation of a long tradition of conflict research in anthropology and neighbouring fields. On the other, it will contribute to the consolidation of media and conflict as a distinct area of scholarship.

Potential questions to be addressed by chapter authors include (but are not limited to):

  • Mediated conflicts: What kind of conflicts are mediated, triggered, fuelled, extended, transformed or resolved by media?
  • Mediated sites: What are the main sites of mediated conflict? How did they come to be so central? How and when do conflicts migrate from site to site? What’s the relationship between mediated conflict and place-making?
  • (De-)escalation: What role do different media play in the escalation and de-escalation of conflict? Is the inherent virality of social media a contributor to the seeming volatility and ephemerality of many of today’s conflicts?
  • (Re-)mediation: How are conflicts mediated (both technologically and interpersonally) in different historical and cultural contexts? What materialities, infrastructures, logistics, and politics are involved in the positioning of individuals or collectives as conflict mediators? How are earlier media technologies remediated in connection to conflicts? What effects does an increasing media convergence have on the unfolding of conflicts?
  • Representation and articulation: How are conflicts communicated and represented in or through media? Who gets to represent what to whom? Through which media? On what occasions? For what purposes? With what consequences?
  • Perception and experience: How are mediated conflicts perceived, experienced, sensed, felt by those directly or indirectly involved in them, and indeed by people with no connection to them? What are the auditory, visual, haptic and other sensory dimensions at work?
  • Change and continuity: What have been the main continuities and changes in the mediation of conflict over the past 10 or 20 years? What difference do social and mobile media make, if any, to contemporary conflicts?
  • Methodology: What anthropological and other approaches and methods can be recruited to the theorisation of media and conflict? What are their potential strengths and limitations and what do they add to an interdisciplinary field of study?

The edited volume Theorising Media and Conflict will be the third in the European Association of Social Anthropologists (EASA) Media Anthropology Network’s series of theoretical volumes published by Berghahn. The first volume came out in 2010 as Theorising Media and Practice (Bräuchler & Postill, eds), and the second volume, Theorising Media and Change (Postill, Ardevol & Tenhunen, eds) is forthcoming. The aim of the series is to place media anthropology at the forefront of theoretical and empirical advances in both anthropology and media and communication studies.

For some background on the offline and online discussions leading to this volume, see E-Seminar 54 (PDF), 10-24 November 2015 at http://www.media-anthropology.net/index.php/e-seminars

Please send your abstracts (max. 300 words) by 29 February 2016 to John Postill (john.postill(at)rmit.edu.au), Philipp Budka (philipp.budka(at)univie.ac.at) and Birgit Bräuchler (birgitbraeuchler(at)gmx.net).

Visual/Media/Digital Anthropology at 14th EASA Conference

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Here is a list of panels at the 14th European Association of Social Anthropologists (EASA) Biennial Conference entitled “Anthropological legacies and human futures” (Milan, 20-23 July 2016, #EASA2016) which deal with visual and digital media technologies and related issues. If you are interested to participate to one of those panels, please keep in mind that the deadline for paper abstract submissions is 15 February and that you have to be member of EASA.

Panels are listed in order of appearance on the conference website. If I missed relevant panels, please let me know.

Producing and transmitting knowledge audio- and/or visually [VANEASA]

Beate Engelbrecht (Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity)
Felicia Hughes-Freeland (SOAS)

Visual anthropologists explore economic, religious and other kinds of social processes audio-visually. They produce audio-visual documents, they analyse subject-generated ones and engage in collaborative projects. What do they contribute to the creation and transmission of anthropological knowledge?

Media anthropology’s legacies and concerns [Media Anthropology Network]

Philipp Budka (University of Vienna)
John Postill (RMIT University)
Elisenda Ardèvol (Universitat Oberta de Catalunya)

The EASA Media Anthropology Network panel seeks to put fundamental concerns of media anthropology, such as the mediation of power, media related forms of production and consumption, the relationship between media and religion, and the mediation of knowledge, back into the centre of attention.

Technologies, bodies and identities on the move: Migration in the modern electronic technoscape

Karen Fog Olwig (University of Copenhagen)
Heather Horst (Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology)

Since Appadurai coined the term “technoscape” electronic technologies of communication and information have developed at a rapid pace. The panel examines how this complex technoscape of cell phones, social media, GPS-systems and biometric technologies shapes and is shaped by human movement.

Impact and localization of international knowledge regimes

Birgit Bräuchler (Monash University)
Sabine Mannitz (Peace Research Institute Frankfurt)

The panel looks at international knowledge regimes as they evolved around issues such as human rights, citizenship, indigeneity, peacebuilding, security or new media technologies. It puts a special focus on their national and local adoption and emerging hierarchies of knowledge and power.

Digital Media Cultures and Extreme Speech

Sahana Udupa (Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity)
Matti Pohjonen (Dublin City University (DCU))

The panel examines the significance of “extreme speech” in digital cultures across the world and its cultural, social and political implications.

Kinship – taking stock in the light of social media

Elisabetta Costa (British Institute at Ankara (BIAA))
Razvan Nicolescu (University College London)

The panel discusses the place of kinship in the light of the ways people create and maintain personal relationships and networks using social media. It explores kinship in direct juxtaposition with other networks such as ‘traditional’ friendship and ‘online’ only friendship.

Reassembling the visual: from visual legacies to digital futures [VANEASA]

Catarina Alves Costa (Universidade Nova de Lisboa)
Roger Canals (University of Barcelona)

Since its beginnings, Anthropology has taken an interest in visuality. Still, this has not produced any unified field of research but rather a multiplicity of areas seen as disconnected. This panel welcomes researches aiming to integrate different aspects of the visual in anthropology.

The art of slowing down

Giulia Battaglia (Université Sorbonne Nouvelle – Paris 3)
Jasmin Kashanipour (University of Vienna)

Slowness needs protection” (Eriksen 2001). Yet, does anthropology encourage ‘slowness’ in its own practice? We encourage reflections around the neoliberal politics of speed and the notion of ‘slowing down’ as a useful practice to re-vitalise anthropological legacies towards a more engaging future.

The impact of images: knowledge, circulation and contested ways of seeing [VANEASA]

Helena Wulff (Stockholm University)
Thomas Fillitz (University of Vienna)

Building on the legacy of visual research in anthropology, this panel explores the explosion of images in social life from photographs to selfies, posters, the arts and hypermedia in relation to knowledge production, circulation and contestation including methods, the market, aesthetics and ethics.

Skilled Engagements [VANEASA]

Cristina Grasseni (Utrecht University)
Rupert Cox (Manchester University)

We explore the notion of ‘engagement’ in terms of the skilled application of the senses and of media, building on the ethnographic study of apprenticeship as a primary mode of ‘enskilment’. Papers should critically investigate technology and the evidential power of media making.

Public and Private Redrawn: Geosocial Sex and the Offline [ENQA]

Matthew McGuire (Cambridge)
Michael Connors Jackman (Memorial University of Newfoundland)

This panel will explore in a global context the reconstitution by geosocial cruising technologies of two sets of oppositions-online/offline and public/private- to deal with the co-constitution of sexual lifeworlds at the interface of geosociality and physicality.

Paper: Interactive technology enhanced learning for social science students

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Budka, P., Schallert, C., Mader, E. 2011. Interactive technology enhanced learning for social science students. In M. E. Auer & M. Huba (Eds.), Proceedings 14th International Conference on Interactive Collaborative Learning (ICL2011) (pp. 274-278), CD-ROM. Piscataway, NJ: IEEE.

Abstract

This paper introduces the case of an interactive technology enhanced learning model, its contexts and infrastructure at a public university in the Bologna era. From a socio-technological perspective, it takes a look at the conditions and challenges under which this flexible learning model for the social sciences has been developed. Furthermore, selected evaluation results, including experiences and expectations of social science students, are discussed. The paper concludes that it is possible, with the appropriate didactical model, to create and facilitate interactive student-centered learning situations, even in “mass lectures”.

Text (PDF)

CfP: “Media anthropology’s legacies and concerns”

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The EASA Media Anthropology Network is organizing a panel entitled “Media anthropology’s legacies and concerns” at the 14th European Association of Social Anthropologists (EASA) conference in Milan (20-23 July, 2016). Please find the detailed call for papers below. To propose a paper, please navigate to http://nomadit.co.uk/easa/easa2016/panels.php5?PanelID=4286 and http://www.easaonline.org/conferences/easa2016/cfp.shtml
Deadline for paper proposal submissions is February 15th.

Media anthropology’s legacies and concerns
(Media Anthropology Network)

Convenors
Philipp Budka (University of Vienna)
John Postill (RMIT University Melbourne)
Elisenda Ardevol (UOC, Barcelona)

In line with the theme of the 14th EASA conference the EASA Media Anthropology Network panel seeks to put fundamental concerns of media anthropology back into the centre of attention. Central themes of media anthropology have already been identified and discussed in earlier works: e.g. the mediation of power and conflict, media related forms of production and consumption, the relationship between media and religion, and the mediation of knowledge and forms of expression (e.g. Askew & Wilk 2002, Ginsburg et al. 2002, Peterson 2003, Rothenbuhler & Coman 2005). These topics can be connected to questions about hierarchies, power relationships, norms and political agency in media contexts; the materiality of media (technologies), exchange and reciprocity, media work; media rituals and the ritualization of media practices and events; the construction of histories and traditions in relation to media practices and the meanings of media communication for oral culture(s).

By (re-)focusing on such topics in a contemporary context, this panel invites contributions also to discuss broader questions. What has been “the point of media anthropology” as an anthropological subdiscipline and as an interdisciplinary field of research (Postill & Peterson 2009)? What are media anthropology’s legacies so far and what are its historical roots? What role does ethnography play in the anthropology of media and how has this relationship changed from a methodological and epistemological perspective? Thus, this panel contributes to the constitution of media anthropology as one of anthropology’s most thriving subdisciplines. Secondly, it adds to the understanding of media anthropology’s legacies, epistemologies, theories, methodologies and possible futures.

Askew, K., Wilk, R. (eds.) 2002. The anthropology of media: A reader. Malden, MA: Blackwell.
Ginsburg, F., Abu-Lughod, L., Larkin, B. (eds.) 2002. Media worlds: Anthropology on new terrain. Berkeley: University of California Press.
Peterson, M. A. 2003. Anthropology and mass communication. Media and myth in the new millennium. New York & Oxford: Berghahn.
Postill, J., Peterson, M. A. 2009. What is the point of media anthropology? Social Anthropology 17(3): 334-344.
Rothenbuhler, E., Coman, M. (eds.) 2005. Media Anthropology. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Seminar: Media & visual technologies as material culture – students’ projects

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The following joint student projects are conducted in the seminar “Media and visual technologies as material culture” at the Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology of the University of Vienna:

  • Team A: Non-Use of Smartphones
    -> Which impact does the non-use of smartphones have for the private and working life? Why do people decide against using smartphones?
  • Team B: Meaning of Cellphones for Refugees
    -> What is the meaning of cellphones for refugees in Austria?
  • Team C: Crowd-sourcing & Labor
    -> How are subjective meanings of “team work” shaped by the inter-dependencies between freelancers and the website Capacitor?
  • Team D: Sharing of Visual Media, Art & Cultural Identity
    -> In what aspects have the Japanese art forms of dance and painting changed through the sharing of visual media/material?
  • Team E: Access to Internet & Power Relations within the Family Home
    -> What are the effects of internet usage on children and young adults in respect to power relations in the family home?
  • Team F: Conversion/Discussion about Digital Content
    -> What is the difference between usage of commentary sections of Serbian and German online newspapers?
  • Team G: Self-Identification through Visual Communication & Social Media
    -> How do people identify/define themselves through visual communication via social media (websites (blogs), video blogs and Instagram)?
  • Team H: Ayahuasceros – Making of Ritual Community on Facebook
    -> What is the relevance of Facebook in the community building process of Austrian Ayahuasca ceremonies?
  • Team I: Bicycle Movement & Digital Media in Vienna
    -> How are digital media technologies utilized in relation to the social network BikeKitchen?

Seminar: Media & visual technologies as material culture – students’ research ideas

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Clustering of individual ideas to create joint research projects in the seminar “Media and Visual Technologies as Material Culture” at the Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology of the University of Vienna.

clustering_ideas

Seminar: Media & visual technologies as material culture – course description

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Seminar “Media and visual technologies as material culture” by Philipp Budka
MA Program CREOLE & MA Program Social & Cultural Anthropology
University of Vienna

Seminar Description

This course gives an overview about material culture as conceptual approach to understand media and visual technologies. It focuses on digital media technologies, their visual aspects and how they are integrated and practiced in everyday life.

Digital media technologies, such as smart phones, laptops, organizers, PDAs, etc., have become important (visual) communication and (re)presentation devices, particularly via the internet and its services. For social and cultural anthropology it is of particular interest how those technologies, objects and artefacts are integrated and embedded into daily practices, by considering changing sociocultural, political and economic contexts. In this course we focus on the material and cultural aspects of digital media and visual technologies and how they are utilized. How are these technologies, objects and artefacts integrated and embedded into daily (sociocultural) practices? What are the relationships between people and digital technologies? Material culture approaches are utilized to understand and analyze technology appropriation as well as different media and visual technology practices, meanings and relations.

By working on different case studies, students get a comparative overview about material culture in the context of media technologies. Students conduct small empirical research projects within teams. The university’s online learning management system is used to provide resources and content as well as to foster student’s exchange and communication beyond the classroom.

Literature

Appadurai, A. (ed.) 1986. The social life of things: Commodities in cultural perspective. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Boellstorff, T., Nardi, B., Pearce, C. & T.L. Taylor. 2012. Ethnography and virtual worlds: A handbook of method. Princeton: Princeton University Press.
Budka, P. 2015. From marginalization to self-determined participation: Indigenous digital infrastructures and technology appropriation in Northwestern Ontario’s remote communities. Journal des anthropologues – Special Issue “Margins and Digital Technologies”. Forthcoming. http://www.philbu.net/blog/?p=703
Eglash, R. 2006. Technology as material culture. In C. Tilley, et al. (eds.) Handbook of material culture. London: Sage.
Fischer, M. 2007. Four genealogies for a recombinant anthropology of science and technology. Cultural Anthropology 22/4: 539-615.
Garsten, C. & Wulff, H. (eds.) 2003. New technologies at work: People, screens and social virtuality. Oxford: Berg.
Hine, C. (ed.) 2005. Virtual methods: Issues in social research on the internet. Oxford: Berg.
Hine, C. 2015. Ethnography for the internet : embedded, embodied and everyday. London: Bloomsbury Acad.
Horst, H. & Miller, D. 2006. The cell phone: An anthropology of communication. Oxford: Berg.
Horst, H. & Miller, D. (eds.) 2012. Digital Anthropology. London: Berg.
Markham, A. & N. Baym. 2009. Internet inquiry: Conversations about method. London: Sage.
Miller, D. 1997. Material cultures: Why some things matter. London: Routledge.
Miller, D. (ed.) 2005. Materiality. Durham: Duke University Press.
Peterson, M. A. 2003. Anthropology and mass communication: Media and myth in the new millennium. New York: Berghahn.
Pfaffenberger, B. 1988. Fetishised objects and humanised nature: Towards an anthropology of technology. Man, 23(2), 236-252.
Pfaffenberger, B. 1992. Social anthropology of technology. Annual Review of Anthropology, 21, 491-516.
Pink, S. 2005. The future of visual anthropology: engaging the senses. London: Routledge.
Tilley, C. et al. (eds.) 2006. Handbook of material culture. London: Sage.
Vannini, P. (ed.) 2009. Material culture and technology in everyday life. New York: Peter Lang.

Article: From marginalization to self-determined participation

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Budka, P. 2015. From marginalization to self-determined participation: Indigenous digital infrastructures and technology appropriation in Northwestern Ontario’s remote communities. Journal des anthropologues – Special Issue “Margins and Digital Technologies”. No. 142-143: 127-153.

Abstract

This article discusses, from an anthropological perspective, the utilization of digital infrastructures and technologies in the geographical and sociocultural contexts of indigenous Northwestern Ontario, Canada. By introducing the case of the Keewaytinook Okimakanak Kuh-ke-nah Network (KO-KNET) it analyses first how digital infrastructures not only connect First Nations people and communities but also enable relationships between local communities and non-indigenous institutions. Second, and by drawing on KO-KNET’s homepage service MyKnet.org, it exemplifies how people appropriate digital technologies for their specific needs in a remote and isolated area. KO-KNET and its services facilitate First Nations’ self-determined participation to regional, national, and even global ICT connectivity processes, contributing thus to the “digital demarginalization” of Northwestern Ontario’s remote communities.

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