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Review: Digital environments: Ethnographic perspectives across global online and offline spaces

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Budka, P. (2018). [Review of the book Digital environments: Ethnographic perspectives across global online and offline spaces, by U. U. Frömming, S. Köhn, S. Fox & M. Terry]. Anthropos, 113.2018(1). Forthcoming.

The edited volume “Digital Environments: Ethnographic Perspectives Across Global Online and Offline Spaces” is a collection of 16 essays by students and graduates of the M.A. Programme in Visual and Media Anthropology at the Free University Berlin. This is the first special feature of the book. The second is the anthropological and ethnographic perspective from which the individual texts discuss a diversity of digital technologies, platforms, services as well as related sociocultural phenomena, events and practices. As Sarah Pink in the book’s foreword notes, these texts and the underlying projects “focus on central issues of the discipline … through the prism of visual and media anthropology” (p. 10). Being not part of the anthropological mainstream, this visual and media anthropology perspective holds the potential of providing exiting new insights in digital culture and our increasingly digitalised societies. The digital ethnography perspective, on the other hand, focuses on “the ways in which technologies have become inseparable from other materialities and human activities” including ethnographic fieldwork, as Urte Undine Frömming, Steffen Köhn, Samantha Fox and Mike Terry note in the introduction chapter (p. 15).
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Seminar: Indigenous Media 2017

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Seminar “Indigenous Media” for the MA Program in Visual and Media Anthropology at the Free University Berlin.

Course Description

“Indigenous media matters because indigenous people do.”
(Wortham 2013: 218)

Indigenous media can be broadly defined as media and forms of media expression conceptualized and produced by indigenous people. From an anthropological perspective, indigenous media can be understood as cultural product and process that are both closely connected to the construction, expression and transmission of identity. Reflecting thus indigenous people’s history as well as contemporary sociocultural and political situations. By (strategically) inserting their own narratives in the dominant media landscape – may this be accomplished through films, TV and radio programs, or websites – indigenous people also utilize media technologies as means for social change and political transformation. Indigenous media-making practices have thus become part of the “ongoing struggles for Indigenous recognition and self-determination” and can therefore be understood as a form of cultural activism (e.g., Ginsburg 2000: 30).

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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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Internet Archive builds archive copy in Canada

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From http://blog.archive.org/2016/11/29/help-us-keep-the-archive-free-accessible-and-private/ by B. Kahle:

… On November 9th in America, we woke up to a new administration promising radical change. It was a firm reminder that institutions like ours, built for the long-term, need to design for change.

For us, it means keeping our cultural materials safe, private and perpetually accessible. It means preparing for a Web that may face greater restrictions.

It means serving patrons in a world in which government surveillance is not going away; indeed it looks like it will increase.

Throughout history, libraries have fought against terrible violations of privacy—where people have been rounded up simply for what they read.  At the Internet Archive, we are fighting to protect our readers’ privacy in the digital world. …

Internet Archive Canada and National Security Letter in the news: roundup

Internet Archive is a non-profit library of millions of free books, movies, software, music, websites, and more: https://archive.org/

Lecture: Visuelle Anthropologie in Zeiten zunehmender Digitalisierung

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Vorlesung “Visuelle Anthropologie in Zeiten zunehmender Digitalisierung“,
Wintersemester 2016/17, am Institut für Kultur- und Sozialanthropologie der Universität Wien
Philipp Budka

Ziele

Die Lehrveranstaltung gibt einen Überblick zur Visuellen Anthropologie und diskutiert die Bedeutung sowie die Entwicklung dieser kultur- und sozialanthropologischen Subdisziplin in Zeiten zunehmender Digitalisierung. Studierende erhalten so einen Einblick in die historische, gegenwärtige und zukünftige Relevanz der Visuellen Anthropologie.

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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.

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: Indigenous Media 2015

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Seminar “Indigenous Media” by Philipp Budka
MA Program in Visual & Media Anthropology,
Freie Universität Berlin

Course Description

In this course 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?

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Journal “Cultural Anthropology” goes open access

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The Society for Cultural Anthropology, in March 2013, announced plans for Cultural Anthropology to become an open access journal. Starting with its February 2014 issue (volume 29, number 1), new issues of the journal became freely available online through the CA website, and plans are in the works to make back issues available as well.

more info at: http://www.culanth.org/articles/open_access
first open access issue: http://www.culanth.org/issues/162-29-1-february-2014

World Summit on Information Society: Action Line “Cultural diversity and identity”

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“Cultural and linguistic diversity, while stimulating respect for cultural identity, traditions and religions, is essential to the development of an Information Society based on the dialogue among cultures and regional and international cooperation. It is an important factor for sustainable development.

UNESCO emphasises the value of cultural and linguistic diversity in all its work.  It is also concerned to ensure that new media platforms make content available which is relevant to the lives of all communities and individuals, including the poor and marginalised.  Content of local relevance, and content which is locally produced, are important in this context.” …
more info

UNESCO & WSIS
WSIS

Free e-Book: Connecting Canadians: Investigations in Community Informatics

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A. Clement, M. Gurstein, G. Longford, M. Moll & L. R. Shade (Eds.), Connecting Canadians: Investigations in Community Informatics. Edmonton: Athabasca University Press.

“Connecting Canadians represents the work of the Community Research Alliance for Community Innovation and Networking (CRACIN), the largest national and international research effort to examine the burgeoning field of community informatics, a cross-disciplinary approach to the mobilization of information and communications technologies (ICT) for community change.

Funded for four years by the SSHRC’s Initiative for the New Economy, CRACIN systematically studied a wide variety of Canadian community ICT initiatives, bringing perspectives from sociology, computer science, critical theory, women’s studies, library and information sciences, and management studies to bear on networking technologies. A comprehensive thematic account of this in-depth research, Connecting Canadians will be an essential resource for NGOs, governments, the private sector, and multilateral agencies across the globe.”

Download the book or single chapters for free: http://www.aupress.ca/index.php/books/120193

Video: Brief history of APC

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A brief overview of Association for Progressive Communications’ (APC) 20 years of online work for social justice.

About APC:

“APC’s strength lies in the fact that we don’t get excited about the internet for the internet’s sake. We are committed activists who want to use it to make the world a better place. We help people get access to the internet where there is none or it is unaffordable, we help grassroots groups use the technology to develop their communities and further their rights, and we work to make sure that government policies related to information and communication serve the best interests of the general population, especially people living in developing countries.

…”

more at: http://www.apc.org/en/about

Brief history of APC from APC on Vimeo.

Essay: TV Global

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TV Global: Fernsehen als Medientechnologie im globalen Süden und aus medienanthropologischer Perspektive
Von Philipp Budka

Dieser Text erschien in gekürzter Form im Schwerpunktheft “Fernsehen Global” des Südwind Magazins 7/2011 unter dem Titel “Glokal gesehen“.

Trotz der rasant zunehmenden Bedeutung des Internets und seiner Applikation und Services, bleibt das Fernsehen das weltweit dominierende Massenmedium in Bezug auf Nachrichten und Unterhaltung (vgl. Straubhaar 2007). Wie bei anderen Kommunikationstechnologien und Medien auch, unterscheiden sich bei der Medientechnologie Fernsehen im nationalstaatlichen und regionalen Vergleich Technologieverbreitung und Infrastrukturvoraussetzungen, politische und ökonomische Produktionsbedingungen, Formen und Praktiken der Rezeption sowie Programmformate und Inhalte. Dieser Beitrag wirft aus kultur- und sozialanthropologischer Perspektive einen Blick auf das Phänomen Fernsehen im globalen Süden. Anhand von kurzen Fallbeispielen soll einerseits die Vielfalt und Divergenz an Fernsehpraktiken im globalen und historischen Kontext beleuchtet werden. Andererseits zeigen diese ausgesuchten Beispiele auch die Gemeinsamkeiten, die sich aufgrund global technologischer Entwicklungen und transnationaler Trends feststellen lassen.

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Obama Supports UN On Indigenous Peoples’ Rights

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From ABC News:

“It took three years to do it, but finally today President Obama announced that the United States will support the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, a document instituted in 2007 and signed by 143 nations but not the US. …”

From the “Remarks by the President at the White House Tribal Nations Conference”:

“… And as you know, in April, we announced that we were reviewing our position on the U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.  And today I can announce that the United States is lending its support to this declaration. …”

New Book: Theorising Media and Practice (Bräuchler & Postill 2010)

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Bräuchler, B. and J. Postill (eds) 2010. Theorising Media and Practice. Oxford and New York: Berghahn.

From John Postill’s blog:

This book is very much a product of the numerous conversations we’ve had down the years on the EASA Media Anthropology Network on practice approaches to media. We’re really grateful to all chapter contributors and to all of network members who have helped us think through some of the key questions.

Synopsis

Although practice theory has been a mainstay of social theory for nearly three decades, so far it has had very limited impact on media studies. This book draws on the work of practice theorists such as Wittgenstein, Foucault, Bourdieu, Barth and Schatzki and rethinks the study of media from the perspective of practice theory. Drawing on ethnographic case studies from places such as Zambia, India, Hong Kong, the United States, Britain, Norway and Denmark, the contributors address a number of important themes: media as practice; the interlinkage between media, culture and practice; the contextual study of media practices; and new practices of digital production. Collectively, these chapters make a strong case for the importance of theorising the relationship between media and practice and thereby adding practice theory as a new strand to the anthropology of media.

More information: http://berghahnbooks.com/title.php?rowtag=BrauchlerTheorising

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