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.
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