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Panel “Digital Ethnography: Revisiting Theoretical Concepts & Methodological Approaches”

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Panel “Digital Ethnography: Revisiting Theoretical Concepts & Methodological Approaches” @ Vienna Anthropology Days 2020 (VANDA2020, Sept. 28 – Oct. 1), convened by Philipp Budka & Monika Palmberger.
More details, including the paper abstracts, to be found at https://vanda.univie.ac.at/scientific-program/.

Session 1

Rebecca Carlson (Temple University / TMDU): Online with bioinformatic scientists in Tokyo: Doing digital ethnography in a pandemic

Simone Pfeifer (Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz): Digital ethnography on, with, and through social media and messenger services: Ethical and methodological reflections from two different research projects

Monika Palmberger (University of Vienna): “New media of care”: Methodological reflections on digital diaries

Annika Richterich (University of Sussex): Critical making and digital ethnography

Franziska Weidle (Brandenburg University of Technology): Co-creating with software: Towards a computational correspondence in digital ethnography

Session 2

Cristiane Damasceno (UNC Greensboro): Innovative research methods for the disinformation age

Marie Hermanová (Czech Academy of Sciences): Too real is fake: Authenticity and digital intimacy between influencers and researchers

Christian Ritter (Tallinn University): Mediated relationships and remote ethnography: Following the rise and fall of travel influencers

Suzana Jovicic (University of Vienna): Neither here nor there: Smartphone in the ethnographic encounter

Libuše Veprek (LMU Munich): Bringing the subject into focus in large scale textual data analysis

Session 3

Maria Schreiber (University of Salzburg): #strokesurvivor: Studying a “hashtag public” on Instagram

Zoë Glatt (LSE): Becoming a YouTuber: (Auto)ethnographic explorations of the online video industry

Xiaowei Huang (Guangzhou College of Commerce): Second Life, ethnography and virtual culture

Philipp Budka (University of Vienna): Digital ethnography and web archives: The case of an indigenous web-based environment

CfP: Digital Ethnography: Revisiting Theoretical Concepts and Methodological Approaches

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Call for Papers for Panel “Digital Ethnography: Revisiting Theoretical Concepts and Methodological Approaches” at Vienna Anthropology Days (VANDA), 28 Sept. – 1 Oct. 2020, University of Vienna, Austria.

Organizers

Philipp Budka (University of Vienna)
Monika Palmberger (University of Vienna)

Abstract

Ethnographic research has the potential to dig deep into mediated personal relationships as well as into socio-technical relations in an increasingly digitized and digitalized world (e.g., Hjorth et al. 2017; Horst & Miller, 2012; Pink et al., 2016). In order to do so, ethnographers and anthropologists have engaged with a variety of digital and multimodal methods such as online ethnographic fieldwork and participant observation, digital storytelling, mobile and visual media elicitation, digital media biographies, and digital video re-enactments (e.g., Pink et al., 2016). Their research has opened up new knowledge horizons such as the changing emotional, normative or symbolic dimensions of complex social relations and cultural practices entangled with new digital media technologies.

This session provides room for critical and ethical reflections on theory and methodology in the field of digital anthropology/ethnography, including, but not limited to, the following questions:

  • Which theoretical concepts are particularly fruitful in the ethnographic and anthropological exploration of digital phenomena?  
  • How are such concepts entangled with methodological approaches and challenges, for example by reconsidering issues of collaboration, decolonization, confidentiality or intimacy?  
  • How can we do participant observation when communication and interaction are increasingly ‘individualized’ and veiled due to digital technologies, particularly the smartphone?  
  • Which forms of collecting, interpreting and representing empirical data do we aspire for?

This session invites presenters to revisit previous discussions and critically reflect upon current relevant debates in anthropology and beyond. Papers may be empirically, methodologically or theoretically driven.

Deadline & Submission

Please submit your paper abstracts (max. 350 words) online via the conference system latest by 1 July 2020.

Blog Post Series: Von der Cyberanthropologie zur Digitalen Anthropologie – Teil 2

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Diese Serie von Blogeinträgen beschreibt die Relevanz kultur- und sozialanthropologischer Zugänge in der Untersuchung digitaler Technik und Technologien, dargestellt anhand wissenschaftstheoretischer Aspekte in der Entwicklung der Forschungsfelder der “Cyberanthropologie” und der “Digitalen Anthropologie”. Kommentare und/oder Anmerkungen sind dezidiert erwünscht.
Die einzelnen Blogeinträge bauen, leicht verändert, auf einen Text, der 2019 im Sammelband Ritualisierung – Meditatisierung – Performance publiziert wurde:
Budka, P. (2019). Von der Cyber Anthropologie zur Digitalen Anthropologie. Über die Rolle der Kultur- und Sozialanthropologie im Verstehen soziotechnischer Lebenswelten. In M. Luger, F. Graf & P. Budka (Eds.), Ritualisierung – Mediatisierung – Performance (pp. 163-188). Göttingen: V&R Unipress/Vienna University Press. https://doi.org/10.14220/9783737005142.163

Anthropologische Perspektiven auf Technik und Technologie 2/2

Aufbauend auf Mauss (1989) versteht Sigaut (1997) Technologie als Wissenschaft und darüber hinaus als einen Zweig der Anthropologie, da technische Fakten letztlich Fakten menschlicher Aktivität sind. Technologie steht dabei zu Technik wie Wissenschaft zu den von ihr erforschten Objekten. Um nun eine “echte wissenschaftliche Technologie” zu entwickeln – Sigaut (1997: 422) spricht von “truly scientific technology” – ist es notwendig, ein Forschungsobjekt durch Beobachtung und Beschreibung zu konstruieren, ein Prozess, den er “Technographie” nennt (ebd.: 423).

Technik, im Sinne von Mauss, meint wiederum jedes Set an Bewegungen oder Handlungen, das kombiniert wird, um ein bekanntes physisches, chemisches oder organisches Ziel zu erreichen (ebd.).1 Dabei benötigt Technik Wissen und Fertigkeiten. Wissen über technische Dinge bedeutet wiederum nicht, diese auch bedienen zu können. Dazu sind bestimmte Fertigkeiten – Ingold (2000: 289ff.) spricht von “skills” – notwendig. Um nun Wissen in Fertigkeiten zu transformieren, bedarf es eines Lernprozesses über unterschiedlich lange Zeiträume. Für Sigaut (1997: 445) können diese Fertigkeiten grundsätzlich nicht getrennt von permanenter und sich beständig erneuernder (sozialer) Handlungspraxis existieren. Technische Fertigkeiten lassen sich so als sozial produziert und darüber hinaus als eng mit materiellen Gütern verbunden verstehen. Die Anthropologie blickt nun genau auf diese soziotechnischen Beziehungen, die nach Sigaut die interessantesten Antworten auf technische und technologische Phänomene und Probleme in unseren Gesellschaften versprechen.

So wird in der Anthropologie etwa das Konzept des soziotechnischen Systems verwendet, um die genannten Phänomene gemeinsam und in ihrem Zusammenhang zu untersuchen. Dabei wird, wie bereits dargelegt, ein deterministisches Technologieverständnis – die Vorstellung, dass Technologie eine alles dominierende Kraft und entsprechende Handlungsautonomie besitzt – ebenso abgelehnt wie die Sichtweise, dass Technologie “neutral” ist und es keinerlei Verbindung zwischen Technik, Technologie, Gesellschaft und Kultur gäbe. Ein soziotechnisches System lässt sich als ein Komplex unterschiedlicher, miteinander verbundener Elemente verstehen: soziale Strukturen, Koordination und Organisation von Arbeit, soziale Beziehungen und Kommunikation zwischen AkteurInnen sowie Produktion und Verwendung von Artefakten. Dieses Gefüge von soziotechnisch relevanten Phänomenen ist dabei gleichzeitig adaptiv – das heißt anpassungs- und lernfähig – sowie expressiv – also ausdrucksfähig (Pfaffenberger 1992: 513).

Technologie wird in der Anthropologie (z. B. Eglash 2006) und in anderen Sozialwissenschaften (z. B. Vannini 2009) aber auch als materielle Kultur verstanden. Materielle Kultur lässt sich nach Daniel Miller (1997: 399) als die materielle Form jenes kulturellen Prozesses verstehen, durch den sich menschliche Gruppen konstruieren und sozialisieren. So erlaubt dieser Zugang, die Materialität und die Normativität von Technologien anhand ihrer Inkorporation in den soziokulturellen Alltag zu fassen. Wie sich in der anthropologischen und ethnographischen Forschungspraxis zeigt, ist die Materialität von Technologie mit phänomenologischen Erfahrungen verknüpft, über die soziale Verbindungen und (neue) Beziehungen zu Zeit und Raum sowie zu Körper und Wahrnehmung hergestellt werden (z.B. Ginsburg/Abu-Lughod/Larkin 2002).

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Seminar: Digital Technologies as Material Culture 2020

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In this MA seminar at the Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology, University of Vienna, we explore digital media technologies from an anthropological/ethnographic perspective in the context of material culture.
More info

This course gives an overview about material culture as a conceptual and practical approach to understand digital technologies. In doing so, it focuses on the everyday incorporation and utilization of digital technologies.

Mobile networked digital media technologies, such as smart phones, as well as social media platforms and services, such as Facebook or Instagram, have become important (visual) communication and (re)presentation tools. For social and cultural anthropology it is of particular interest how these digital devices and technologies are integrated and embedded into everyday life, by considering changing sociocultural, political and economic contexts. This course focuses in particular on the material aspects of digital technologies and how they are utilized on a day-to-day basis. Questions about the relevance of a material culture approach for (the understanding of) technology appropriation – on a theoretical and practical level – as well as questions about (culturally) different usage practices are discussed. How does the understanding and conceptualization of digital technology as material culture contribute to the exploration and analyses of contemporary and emerging sociocultural practices and processes in increasingly digital societies?

By working on different online case studies, students get a comparative overview about material culture in a digital context.

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CfP: Engaged media anthropology in the digital age

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The EASA Media Anthropology Network is organizing an official network panel at the European Association of Social Anthropologists (EASA) 2020 conference in Lisbon (21-24 July). Find the call for papers below and online:
https://nomadit.co.uk/conference/easa2020/p/8591

For more general information about the call and the conference, navigate to:
https://easaonline.org/conferences/easa2020/cfp
https://easaonline.org/conferences/easa2020/

The call closes on 20 January 2020.

Engaged media anthropology in the digital age

Organizers
Philipp Budka (University of Vienna) and Sahana Udupa (LMU Munich)

Abstract
The relative ease of access and potential disruptive features of digital media have opened up new opportunities for media anthropologists to extend their field relations into durable public engagement. These possibilities have encouraged anthropologists to collaboratively design various public engagement initiatives to harness digital media technologies and infrastructures for social justice goals including health, education, environmental protection, gender parity and political inclusion. Such direct interventions have gone hand in hand with critical perspectives on how “the digital” has played a key role in enabling political cultures of indignity and injustice – from online extreme speech to digitally enabled surveillance and algorithmic bias. This panel will foreground these two distinct, yet interrelated, aspects of engaged media anthropology: community projects that involve direct participation of anthropologists in designing digital platforms and applications, and in supporting local forms of media/digital activism; and studies that envision an inclusive future through public intervention strategies of critique and discursive resistance. A key question that drives this panel is whether the latest examples of engaged media anthropology that are enabled by digital technologies and infrastructures have signaled a break from the imperial logic of upliftment and betterment as a means to consolidate colonial power or whether enduring injustices are questioned through new means of collaboration and dialogue. What are the promises and limitations of engaged media anthropology in the digital age?

Lecture/Seminar: Ethnography and Digital Media 2019

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In this lecture/seminar at the Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology, we discuss how ethnography contributes to the exploration, description and understanding of digitally mediated processes and practices (in German).

In dieser Lehrveranstaltung erhalten Studierende einen Einblick in die Ethnographie digitaler Medien. Dabei werden sowohl theoretische Zugänge und Konzepte als auch praxisnahen Anwendungs- und Erfahrungswerte vermittelt.

Digitale Medien – wie Internet, Social Media und Smartphones – ermöglichen neue Formen medialer Kommunikation und Repräsentation, die in Zusammenhang mit unterschiedlichen soziokulturellen, politischen und ökonomischen Faktoren und Dimensionen stehen. Diese Medientechnologien überbrücken nicht nur Zeit und Raum, sie gestalten diese neu. Sie ermöglichen die Vernetzung und Mobilisierung von Menschen und die Konstruktion vielfältiger Formen von individueller und kollektiver Identität. Welche theoretischen und methodologischen Zugänge sind hilfreich, um neue digitale Medientechnologien und damit zusammenhängende Praktiken und Sozialitäten zu beschreiben und zu analysieren? Können wir auf das “klassische” methodische Repertoire der Kultur- und Sozialanthropologie zurückgreifen oder benötigt es neue digitale Methoden und Techniken? Welche Bedeutung haben etwa Datensicherung und die Archivierung von digitalen Artefakten? Und welche ethischen Aspekte in der Digitalen Ethnographie gilt es zu beachten?
Studierende lernen anhand von konkreten Fallbeispielen, ausgewählte theoretische und methodologische Zugänge kennen. Sie gewinnen so einen Überblick über die Diversität digitaler Phänomene, Prozesse und Praktiken sowie deren ethnographische Beschreibung und Untersuchung.

Literatur (Auswahl)

Boellstorff, T., Nardi, B., Pearce, C., & Taylor, T. L. (2012). Ethnography and virtual worlds: A handbook of method. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Budka, P. (2019). Von der Cyber Anthropologie zur Digitalen Anthropologie. Über die Rolle der Kultur- und Sozialanthropologie im Verstehen soziotechnischer Lebenswelten. In M. Luger, F. Graf & P. Budka (Eds.), Ritualisierung – Mediatisierung – Performance (pp. 163-188). Göttingen: V&R Unipress/Vienna University Press.

Hakken, D. (1999). Cyborgs@Cyberspace: An ethnographer looks to the future. London: Routledge.

Hjorth, L, Horst, H., Galloway, A., & Bell, G. (2016). The Routledge Companion to digital ethnography. New York: Routledge.

Miller, D., & Slater, D. (2002). Ethnography and the extreme Internet. In T. H. Eriksen (Ed.), Globalisation: Studies in anthropology (pp. 39-57). London: Pluto Press.

Pink, S., Horst, H., Postill, J., Hjorth, L., Lewis, T., & Tacchi, J. (2016). Digital ethnography: Principles and practice. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Postill, J., & Pink, S. (2012). Social media ethnography: The digital researcher in a messy web. Media International Australia, 145(1), 123-134.

More info: https://ufind.univie.ac.at/en/course.html?lv=240033&semester=2019W

Lecture: Introduction to Social and Cultural Anthropology 2019

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In this year’s introductory lecture at the Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology of the University of Vienna, we will investigate and discuss sociocultural anthropology’s key topics, selected theoretical perspectives and a diversity of case studies (in German). This lecture is closely connected to the lecture “Propädeutikum Social and Cultural Anthropology” and focuses in particular on teaching and research areas that are representative for sociocultural anthropology in Vienna.

In der Vorlesung wird eine Auswahl von Themenfeldern behandelt, die im Zuge des Studiums in diversen Modulen vertieft werden. Dazu zählen: Kolonialismus/Postkolonialismus; Globalisierung und Migration; Tourismus; ökonomische Prozesse und Wirtschaftsweisen; Materielle Kultur und Konsum; Natur und Umwelt; soziale Organisationsformen und Kinship; Ritual und Mythen; Religion und Weltbild; Medien und Kommunikationstechnologien; Visuelle Kultur und Film; Gender.

Die Darstellung der einzelnen Themenfelder umfasst jeweils eine Einführung in wichtige Fragestellungen, zentrale theoretische Konzepte, und ausgewählte Fallstudien. Besondere Aufmerksamkeit gilt dabei auch den Verflechtungen von verschiedenen Themenfeldern sowie spezifischen regionalen Kontexten (insbesondere Lateinamerika, Nordamerika, Südasien und Nordafrika).

Die Vorlesung gibt den Studierenden einen Einblick in die thematische Bandbreite des Faches, sie vermittelt Basiswissen zu Orientierung von StudienanfängerInnen sowie Grundkompetenzen in Hinblick auf eine Reihe von aktuellen Forschungsfeldern der Kultur- und Sozialanthropologie.

More info: https://ufind.univie.ac.at/de/course.html?lv=240002&semester=2019W


Seminar: Media Activism

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For the MA Program “Visual and Media Anthropology” at the Free University Berlin, I am organizing a newly developed seminar on media activism.

Course Description

Activism with/in/through media can be broadly understood as forms of technology mediated activism that intend to spark, create and/or support social and political change. So change (and therefore continuity) is at the heart of media activism, as, for instance, Kidd and Rodriguez (2009: 1) note: “Grassroots media have grown from a set of small and isolated experiments to a complex of networks of participatory communications that are integral to local, national, and transnational projects of social change”. Since media activism is related to a diversity of phenomena – such as power relationships, conflict or globalization – as well as to questions about the conception of time and space, organizational structures, collective identities and different forms of sociality, it has become a broad, interdisciplinary research field. This course gives an overview of media activism from a predominantly anthropological and ethnographic perspective.

When engaging with media activism, a variety of contexts, theoretical conceptualizations and methodological approaches have to be considered. In this course, students learn about these aspects by reviewing relevant literature and by discussing different forms and examples of media activism and related questions, issues and problems:

  • How can we contextualize media activism and related practices in anthropology?
  • What historical developments can we identify? And what does this tell us about contemporary activist processes and practices?
  • What is the role of (sociocultural and technological) change, politics, power, globalization and (de)colonization in an anthropological engagement with media activism?
  • How can we ethnographically describe and analyze media activist processes and practices? What are the possibilities and challenges?
  • How can we understand media activism in digital times and in the age of social media? What has changed?
  • What does it mean to interpret and conceptualize media activism as (a form or a part of) cultural activism?

Reference

Kidd, D., & Rodriguez, C. (2009). Introduction. In C. Rodriguez, D. Kidd, & L. Stein (Eds.), Making our media: Global initiatives toward a democratic public sphere, Volume 1: Creating new communication spaces (pp. 1-22). New York: Hampton Press.

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Seminar: Digital & Visual Technologies as Material Culture

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In the summer term 2019, I am giving a seminar on digital and visual technologies as material culture at the Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology (MA & CREOLE study programme) of the University of Vienna. Find more information online.

This course gives an overview about material culture as a conceptual and practical approach to understand digital and visual technologies. In doing so, it focuses on digital technologies, their visual aspects and how they are integrated and utilized in everyday life.

Mobile networked digital media technologies, such as smart phones, as well as social media platforms and services, such as Facebook or Instagram, have become important (visual) communication and (re)presentation tools. For social and cultural anthropology it is of particular interest how these digital devices and technologies are integrated and embedded into everyday life, by considering changing sociocultural, political and economic contexts. This course focuses in particular on the material aspects of digital and visual technologies and how they are utilized on a day-to-day basis. Questions about the relevance of a material culture approach for (the understanding of) technology appropriation on a theoretical and practical level as well as questions about (culturally) different usage practices are discussed. How does the understanding and conceptualisation of digital and visual technology as material culture contribute to the exploration and analyses of contemporary and emerging sociocultural practices and processes in increasingly digital societies?

By working on different case studies, students get a comparative overview about material culture in the context of digital and visual technologies. Students conduct small empirical research projects within teams.

Lecture: Ritual & Religion in Social and Cultural Anthropology

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Together with Martin Luger, I am organizing a lecture on ritual and religion in social and cultural anthropology at the Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology of the University of Vienna (in German). Find more information online.

Die Lehrveranstaltung gibt einen Überblick über zentrale Konzepte der Kultur- und Sozialanthropologie zu rituellen und religiösen Praktiken, Prozessen und Phänomenbereichen. Ausgehend von klassischen Werken unterschiedlicher Denktraditionen werden den Studierenden Einblicke in die Entstehung rezenter Sichtweisen und Debatten vermittelt. Mit Hilfe ethnographischer Fallbeispiele erlangen sie Kompetenzen im Erfassen unterschiedlicher Wechselwirkungen der zentralen Themenbereiche.

Die Kultur- und Sozialanthropologie befasst sich mit unterschiedlichen Glaubensvorstellungen, spirituellen Praktiken und Ritualen sowie deren soziokultureller und alltäglicher Einbettung. Religion und Ritual sind eng mit anderen Bereichen des menschlichen Lebens verflochten, etwa mit sozialen Beziehungen, Wertvorstellungen, Moral, Ethik, Vorstellungen von Gesundheit und Krankheit, politischen Organisationsformen, Ökonomie und Ökologie.
Religionen zeichnen sich beispielsweise durch eine ausgeprägte performative Ritual-Praxis aus. Das rituelle Geschehen als Feld des sozialen Dramas, der Initiation und Transformation sowie dessen Mittlerfunktionen zwischen Ordnung und Chaos, Communitas und Rebellion werden thematisiert. Ebenso wird anhand des Begriffs der Performativität der Frage nachgegangen, ob der Körper durch das Ritual geht, oder das Ritual durch den Körper.
Rituale stehen zudem in Zusammenhang mit bestimmten Wertvorstellungen und Normen sowie mit spezifischen Menschenbildern. Dabei haben Vorstellungen und Praktiken Auswirkungen auf die Subjektivität und Personalität von Praktizierenden. Dies hat sowohl ethnographische Erkundungen über jene Dinge gefördert, die im Leben von Menschen am wichtigsten scheinen, als auch Sensibilitäten dafür geschaffen, wie sich diese mit breiteren Prozessen und Kontexten überschneiden. Rezente Unsicherheiten betreffen beispielsweise die ökologische Zerstörung und ihre Ursachen, und destabilisieren Konzepte, Um- und Lebenswelten. Gleichzeitig entstehen neue religiöse Bewegungen mit dem Versprechen von ökologischem sowie sozialem Gleichgewicht (Stichwort: green religions, spiritual ecology).

Die Vorlesung spannt einen Bogen von evolutionistischen Ansätzen, über struktural-funktionale, bis hin zu post-strukturalen Ansätzen und den Ontologie-Debatten des 21.Jh. Die Inhalte werden anhand zentraler Texte und ethnographischer Fallbeispiele erläutert und ermöglichen die Diskussion eines breiten Spektrums kultur- und sozialanthropologischer Forschungszugänge. Die Lernplattform der Universität Wien wird genutzt, um Lernmaterialien zur Verfügung zu stellen sowie den inhaltlichen Austausch und die Kommunikation zwischen den Studierenden zu fördern. Zusätzlich sieht die Lehrveranstaltung eine aktive Beteiligung der Studierenden mittels Diskussionsrunden vor.

E-Seminar: The digital turn: New directions in media anthropology

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Udupa, S., Costa, E., & Budka, P. (2018) The digital turn: New directions in media anthropology.
Discussion Paper for the Follow-Up E-Seminar on the EASA Media Anthropology Network Panel “The Digital Turn” at the 15th European Association of Social Anthropologists (EASA) Biennial Conference, Stockholm, Sweden, 14-17 August 2018.

63rd EASA Media Anthropology Network E-Seminar: 16-30 October 2018, via the network’s Mailing List.

With the advent of digital media technologies, internet-based devices and services, mobile computing as well as software applications and digital platforms new opportunities and challenges have come to the forefront in the anthropological study of media. For media anthropology and related fields, such as digital and visual anthropology, it is of particular interest how people engage with digital media and technologies; how digital devices and tools are integrated and embedded in everyday life; and how they are entangled with different social practices and cultural processes. The digital turn in media anthropology signals the growing importance of digital media technologies in contemporary sociocultural, political and economic processes. This panel suggested that the digital turn could be seen a paradigm shift in the anthropological study of media, and foregrounded three important streams of exploration that might indicate new directions in the anthropology of media.

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Panel: “Digital Visuality” @ VANDA 2018

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PANEL “DIGITAL VISUALITY” @ Vienna Anthropology Days (VANDA) 2018 (September 19-22, 2018)

Convenors:
Elke Mader & Philipp Budka

Thursday, 20 September
11:00-17:00
Room 4 (New Institute Building (NIG) of the University of Vienna, Universitätsstraße 7)

Paper Presentations:
(Timetable)

Philipp Budka: The Anthropology of Digital Visuality: Notes on Comparison, Context and Relationality

Harjant Gill: Introduction to Multimodal Anthropologies

Petr Nuska: “Changing the Equipment or Changing the Perspective?” – Exploring Film and Video Approach in Visual Ethnography

Katja Müller: Contemporary Photography in India – Post-media Aesthetics, Traditional Art and Economic Professionalism

Uschi Klein: What Does a Photograph Really Tell Us? The Photography of Young Male Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder

Fatma Sagir: “We Can See Your Hair, Dina!” – Muslim Female Embodiments of Digital Visibilities

Nadia Molek: Argentinian Slovenians Online: Facebook Groups of Slovenian Descendants in Argentina as Mediators of Identity Performances and Rituals
(via Skype)

Daria Radchenko: Digital Anthropology and/or Digital Traces: Seeing the City Through the Eyes of Locals

Elke Mader: Mediating the Krampus: Digital Visuality, Ritual and Cultural Performance

VANDA 2018 Full Program

Paper: Indigenous articulations in the digital age

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Budka, P. (2018). Indigenous articulations in the digital age: Reflections on historical developments, activist engagements and mundane practices. Paper at International Communication Association 2018 Pre-Conference “Articulating Voice. The Expressivity and Performativity of Media Practice”, Prague, Czech Republic: Hilton, 24 May. Full Paper (PDF)

The relationship between indigenous people and digital media technologies is ambivalent and enthusiastic at the same time; reflecting individual experiences and expectations as well as collective sociocultural contexts and developments. Considering indigenous people’s colonial history and colonization’s continuing effects on indigenous communities, it is not surprising that many indigenous representatives are particularly concerned about issues of power, control, and ownership related to digital technologies and new ways of knowledge production, circulation, and representation (e.g., Ginsburg, 2008).

There is a strong sense of sociopolitical activism and agency in indigenous people’s collective engagements with digital media technologies which are closely connected to the (re)construction and mediation of cultural identity, cultural articulation, social intervention, and self-determination. At the same time, indigenous people’s digital practices are related to mundane necessities of everyday communication, social networking, family bonding, or self-expression. To understand indigenous articulations in the digital age, the collective and the individual dimension need to be considered.

Idle No More Twitter Account
Screenshot: Idle No More Twitter Account, 2018

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Panel: The Digital Turn: New Directions in Media Anthropology [Media Anthropology Network]

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The EASA Media Media Anthropology Network is organizing a panel at the 15th European Association of Social Anthropologists Biennial Conference in Stockholm, 14-17 August 2018.

The Digital Turn: New Directions in Media Anthropology [Media Anthropology Network]”
Convenors:
Philipp Budka (University of Vienna)
Elisabetta Costa (University of Groningen)
Sahana Udupa (Ludwig Maximilian University)

This panel recognizes the digital turn as a paradigm shift in the anthropological study of media, and aims to push further the ethnographic knowledge into the role that digital media play in people’s everyday life and broader sociopolitical transformations.

  • What’s New? Turns, Re-turns in Digitalization of Danish Right-wing Online Vitriol Language
    Peter Hervik (Aalborg University)
  • Extreme Speech: Online Media Cultures as a Context for Right-Wing Politics
    Sahana Udupa (Ludwig Maximilian University Munich)
  • Populist Masculine Domination in the Moments of Trump and Brexit: On the importance of Big <-> Thick Description
    Bryce Peake (University of Maryland)
  • Rethinking Women’s Agency and Digital Media in the Middle East
    Elisabetta Costa (University of Groningen)
  • Gendering Chinese Digital Media Politics
    Samuel Lengen (Anglia Ruskin University)
  • Gender, Kinship and Mediation in Rural West Bengal, India
    Sirpa Tenhunen (University of Helsinki)
  • An Ethnography of Young People`s Gender Negotiations in Everyday Digital (Sexual) Peer Cultures
    Irene Arends (University of Amsterdam)
  • The Material Dimension of Digital Visuality: Anthropological Possibilities, Challenges and Futures
    Philipp Budka (University of Vienna)
  • Matters of Similarity: Affordances of Digital Visualities
    Christoph Bareither (Humboldt-University Berlin)
  • Digital Visualities Disrupted – Local Photographers in Aleppo and the Shifting Infrastructures of War
    Nina Grønlykke Mollerup (University of Copenhagen)

Seminar: Indigenous Media 2018

Seminar: Indigenous Media 2018 published on No Comments on Seminar: Indigenous Media 2018

For the 4th time I am organizing the seminar “Indigenous Media” for the MA Program Visual and Media Anthropology at the Free University Berlin.

In this course, students are introduced to indigenous media technologies by actively discussing in 10 units/sessions different questions, issues and problems:

  • How do indigenous people produce, distribute and utilize audiovisual media?
  • How has ethnographic and anthropological film making changed through indigenous media?
  • What role do politics, power, globalization and (post-)colonialism play in the production, distribution and consumption 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?
  • How do indigenous people appropriate and (co-)develop digital media technologies?

We start our seminar with the contextualization of indigenous media within 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 sociocultural life worlds. 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 (collaborative) media projects. The fourth unit deals with (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 are the topics of the sixth unit. The following three sessions are closely connected, discussing 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 significance of digital technologies and infrastructures for indigenous people.

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 United States to the Caribbean, Guatemala, Mexico and Brazil, to Nigeria, Myanmar, Australia and Finland. The seminar’s assignments include the preparation of an essay at the end of the seminar and short weekly literature and film reviews/critiques as well as an active contribution to discussions during the online sessions, which are organized with the online conference tool Adobe Connect.