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Paper: Internet for remote First Nation communities in Northwestern Ontario

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Budka, P. (2017). Internet for remote First Nation communities in Northwestern Ontario. Paper at “3rd CoRe Workshop – Mobility and Remoteness: What is the Connection?“, Vienna, Austria: University of Vienna, 26-27 May. Full Paper (PDF)

Introduction

In 1994, the Keewaytinook Okimakanak Kuhkenah Network (KO-KNET) began to develop and provide internet infrastructures and services for the remote First Nation communities in Northwestern Ontario, Canada. Public and private institutions have been reluctant to invest in this “high cost serving area” with no year-round road access, where residents have to travel by plane for medical treatment or to meet with relatives and where people have to move to southern towns to continue their high school education or to find work. In close cooperation with the region’s First Nation communities, KO-KNET has built local broadband internet infrastructures to provide services such as cell phone communication, e-health, online learning, videoconferencing, and personal website hosting. Overall aim of this initiative has been to give people a choice to stay in their remote home communities.

For my first field trip to Northwestern Ontario in 2006, I decided not to fly but to take the train from Toronto to Sioux Lookout, Northwestern Ontario’s transportation hub. This ride with “The Canadian”, which connects Toronto and Vancouver, took about 26 hours and demonstrated very vividly the vastness of Ontario. I could not believe that I had spent more than an entire day on a train without even leaving the province. Finally, I arrived at Sioux Lookout, where I would be working with KO-KNET, one of the world’s leading indigenous internet organizations.

After my first day at the office, KO-KNET’s coordinator wanted to show me something. We jumped in his car and drove to the outskirts of the town where he stopped in front of a big satellite dish. Only through this dish, he explained, the remote First Nation communities in the North can be connected to the internet. I was pretty impressed, but had no idea how this should really work.

While the satellite dish was physically visible to me, the underlying infrastructure of interconnected digital information and communication systems was not. In the weeks and months to follow, I learned about the technical aspects of internet networks and broadband connectivity, about hubs, switches, and cables, about towers, points of presence, and loops. And I found out that internet via satellite might look impressive, but is actually the last resort and a very expensive way to establish and maintain internet connectivity for remote and isolated communities.

KO-KNET satellite dish, Sioux Lookout
KO-KNET satellite dish, Sioux Lookout

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Vortrag: Medien und Literalität in der Kultur- und Sozialanthropologie

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Budka, P. 2017. Medien und Literalität in der Kultur- und Sozialanthropologie: (Digitale) Medienpraktiken aus kulturvergleichender Perspektive. Vortrag im Workshop “Dark Side of Literacy” am Bundesinstitut für Erwachsenenbildung, Strobl, Salzburg, 20. April 2017. (PDF)

Inhalt:
Kultur- und Sozialanthropologie (KSA)
Medien in der KSA
Literalität in der KSA
„Moderne Oralität“
Digitale & Soziale Medien in der KSA

CfP: Anthropologies of media and mobility

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Anthropologies of Media and Mobility: Theorizing movement and circulations across entangled fields

An International Workshop organized by the Anthropology and Mobility Network and the Media Anthropology Network (EASA) in collaboration with Locating Media (University Siegen) and a.r.t.e.s. Graduate School (University of Cologne)

University of Cologne, Germany
14-16 September 2017

This international workshop seeks to theorize the relationship between media and mobility. While mobility has been defined as movement ascribed with meaning, one might in similar fashion define media as meaning ascribed with movement. Interrogating the linkages between media and mobility can enable more thorough understandings of how various power structures produce, transform and reproduce social, material and discursive orders. People, devices, and data are increasingly on the move – movements that may transgress borders and boundaries, but which are also integral to the constitution and regulation of the barriers themselves. The movement of people triggers new imaginaries of territories and social spaces, which circulate through media, questioning and forging new ties between people, signs and things. More broadly, the mobilisation of tangible and intangible things demands a reconceptualization of what a ‘thing’ is, what constitutes the human, and what defines human collectivity. In such circumstances, reimagining circulations through the lens of media and mobility becomes an important step towards understanding current socio-cultural and political changes. While this lens has been applied broadly within anthropological research, its theoretical consequences merit further investigation and discussion. 

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Report: Media Anthropology Network activities at the 14th EASA Biennial Conference

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Report on EASA Media Anthropology Network activities at the 14th EASA Biennial Conference, Milan, 20-23 July 2016
by Philipp Budka

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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.

Workshop: “Kultur- und Sozialanthropologie des Sports”

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Workshop “Kultur- und Sozialanthropologie des Sports” bei den 10. Tage der Kultur- und Sozialanthropologie,
Institut für Kultur- und Sozialanthropologie der Universität Wien
Freitag, 24. April 2015, von 09:30 bis 13:00 im Seminarraum D

organisiert von Stefan Heissenberger (Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin) und Philipp Budka (Universität Wien)

In dem wegweisenden Artikel “Sport, Modernity, and the Body” betonen Nico Besnier und Susan Brownell (2012), dass eine Kultur- und Sozialanthropologie des Sports zu einem bessern Verständnis einer zunehmend globalisierten Welt beitragen kann. Hinsichtlich der ethnologischen und kultur- und sozialanthropologischen Fachgeschichte, kommt dem Phänomen Sport allerdings nur eine äußerst marginale Rolle zu. Erst ab Mitte der 1980er Jahre konnte sich im anglophonen Raum eine Anthropology of Sport als kleine Subdisziplin formieren. Nun scheint auch im deutschsprachigen Raum das Interesse an diesem Thema stetig zu wachsen. Dies drückt sich neben einem Anstieg von einschlägigen Fachpublikationen, auch in wissenschaftlichen Veranstaltungen aus, wie etwa der Konferenz Anthropology of European Football in Wien 2013 oder dem Panel Die Wahrheit liegt auf dem Platz auf der DGV-Tagung in Mainz 2013. Mit unserem Workshop wollen wir dieser
Entwicklung ein weiteres Forum bieten.

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Article/Report: Indigenous Peoples knowledge society: Transformations and challenges

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Budka, P., Fiser, A. 2010. Indigenous Peoples knowledge society: Transformation and challenges. Report and introduction to the section Indigenous Peoples Knowledge Society. TRANS – Internet Journal for Cultural Studies, 2010(17). Online: http://inst.at/trans/17Nr/8-2/8-2_sektionsbericht.htm

This introductory text and a collection of papers, which were presented at the “Indigenous Peoples Knowledge Society” workshop at the “KCTOS: Wissen, Kreativität und Transformationen von Gesellschaften” conference in December 2007 in Vienna will be accessible online in the 17th issue of TRANS: Internet Journal for Cultural Studies.

Of the more than 300 million Indigenous People recognized by the United Nations, a growing minority is actively shaping indigenous visions of a knowledge-based society (e.g. UNHCHR 2001, 1997). These visions are not simply indigenous responses to global mainstream debates over post-industrial development or techno-scientific culture, etc. More importantly, they articulate the actual deployment of new media and information communications technologies (ICTs) by indigenous communities to forward their own policies and practices. They frame how indigenous communities are mobilizing over the internet and on the web to communicate their lived experiences and extend their local networks to global audiences, including and most importantly, a global indigenous audience.

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Report: CRASSH Workshop “Subversion, Conversion, Development”

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Budka, P. 2008. Report on CRASSH Workshop “Subversion, Conversion, Development: Public Interests in Technologies”, Cambridge, 24-26 April.

From the workshop’s abstract:
As part of the “New forms of knowledge for the 21st Century” research agenda at Cambridge University, the workshop will explore why designers and developers of new technologies should be interested in producing objects that users can modify, redeploy or redevelop. This exploration demands an examination of presuppositions that underpin the knowledge practices associated with the various productions of information communication technologies (ICT). A central question is that of diversity: diversity of use, of purpose, and of value(s). Does diversity matter, in the production and use of ICT, and if so, why?

Text (PDF)

Links:
http://www.crassh.cam.ac.uk/events/71/
http://vectors.usc.edu/thoughtmesh/publish/12.php

Section/Workshop: Indigenous Peoples Knowledge Society

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The section “Indigenous Peoples Knowledge Society” of the KCTOS conference will take place at the 7th of December at the Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology of the University of Vienna.

More detailed information can be found in the workshop’s program:
fiser_budka_program.pdf

Workshop: Indigenous Peoples Knowledge Society

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KCTOS Conference: Knowledge, Creativity, and Transformation of Societies
Vienna, Austria, 6 to 9 December 2007

Conference Section/Workshop: Indigenous Peoples Knowledge Society: Transformations and Challenges / Indigene in der Wissensgesellschaft: Transformationen und Herausforderungen
http://www.inst.at/kctos/sektionen_a-f/fiser_budka.htm

Of the more than 300 Million Indigenous Peoples recognized by the United Nations, a growing minority is actively shaping indigenous visions of a knowledge-based society. These visions are not simply indigenous responses to global mainstream debates over post-industrial development or techno-scientific culture, etc. More importantly, they articulate the actual deployment of new media and information communications technologies (ICTs) by indigenous communities to forward their own policies and practices. They frame how indigenous communities are mobilizing over the internet and on the Web to communicate their lived experiences and extend their local networks to global audiences, including and especially, a global indigenous audience.

For academics in the field, online indigenous communities are opening up spaces of inquiry beyond the digital divide by actively co-creating virtual communities and transforming their cultural experience through ICTs (i.e., real life in cyberspace). Questions about resources, knowledge/power and access continue to be important, but they have become more complicated by issues of networking and social life, virtual reproduction, and information policy. These new social, political, and cultural forms of indigeneity will be discussed within this section.

Papers within this section address one or more themes reflected in the following research questions:

• How can/should social sciences describe and explain local indigenous knowledge production in a potentially global knowledge system? What are the socio-cultural and political inter-linkages between local and global?
• How do indigenous communities integrate new media practices and ICTs into processes of local media production and networking to participate in socio-cultural life, political movements, economic development, healthcare, education, and so forth?
• How might indigenous communities’ uses of new media and ICTs reflect challenges for diversity, conflict, global ethics, pluralism, gender, youth and heritage?
• What best practices have indigenous organizations developed around the inter-linkages of knowledge production, new media, ICTs, and local/global community networks (that could inform practitioners and scholars)?

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