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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


1) EASA Media Anthropology Network Meeting (21 July 2016)

Philipp Budka introduced the network, its history and its activities to a group of about 15 people, some new and some regular participants to the network’s meetings at EASA conferences.
The network, which was established in 2004, has particularly become known for its e-seminars (57 e-seminars on different working papers, projects and texts; the most recent e-seminar was a joint project with AAA’s Digital Anthropology Group and the Committee for the Anthropology of Science, Technology & Computing, http://www.media-anthropology.net/index.php/e-seminars) and its interdisciplinary mailing list with more than 1500 subscribers (http://www.media-anthropology.net/index.php/mailing-list).
In addition, Budka also referred to the network’s offline activities, such as the workshop “Theorising Media and Conflict” (Vienna, October 2015). Many of these workshops resulted in publication projects (e.g. Bräuchler & Postill 2010).
There have been first talks with representatives of the EASA Anthropology and Mobility Network (ANTHROMOB) in Milan to organise a joint workshop in the future.
The website of the network (http://www.media-anthropology.net/), which currently runs in reduced mode due to technical issues and the need for revision and re-organisation of structure and content, contains (1) e-seminar related documents under a Creative Commons Licence and free to use, (2) information about the mailing list and (3) a list of network participants.
Future steps for the Media Anthropology Network will first be discussed among members of the network’s coordination team to be then debated among all interested network members via the mailing list.

Reference
Bräuchler, B., Postill, J. (eds). 2010. Theorising media and practice. Oxford: Berghahn.

2) EASA Media Anthropology Network Panel (23 July 2016)

The EASA Media Anthropology Network’s panel “Media anthropology’s legacies and concerns” aimed for putting fundamental concerns of media anthropology back into the centre of attention. Eight papers were presented by nine authors. Each presentation was followed by a brief discussion.

The panel’s first paper by Alberto Micali & Nicolò Pasqualini introduced the concept of “anthropomediality“ by putting materiality and ecology into the centre of a media (anthropology) research focus.
John McManus then proposed that a “ludic turn” in media anthropology – that is re-focusing on play and playfulness in relation to media – could contribute decisively to the sub-field’s future development.
In the third paper, Philipp Budka reflected on selected issues of media anthropology’s concerns to identify and briefly discuss ethnography and context as two key features of the sub-field.
Since Erkan Saka was not able to attend the conference due to Turkey’s travel restrictions, he gave a short presentation via Skype discussing the intersection of anthropology’s disciplinary crisis and the emergence of internet studies.
The panel’s fifth paper by Balazs Boross discussed aspects of television culture by investigating the “myth of participation” in TV shows and the making of media rituals.
Heloisa Buarque de Almeida discussed in her paper the changing politics of meaning of gender violence in relation to Brazilian TV shows.
In the seventh paper, Richard MacDonald examined through an ethnographic case study of outdoor cinemas in Thailand people’s relations to screens as well as the sites and practices of this screenculture.
The panel’s last paper was given by Jonathan Larcher and discussed the politics of digital visual culture and aspects of the culturally diverse uses and forms of appropriation of visual material in Romania.

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