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

Seminar: Media & visual technologies as material culture – course description published on No Comments on Seminar: Media & visual technologies as material culture – course description

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.
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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.

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