Digital Anthropology  book cover
1st Edition

Digital Anthropology

ISBN 9780857852908
Published October 1, 2012 by Routledge
328 Pages

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Book Description

Anthropology has two main tasks: to understand what it is to be human and to examine how humanity is manifested differently in the diversity of culture. These tasks have gained new impetus from the extraordinary rise of the digital. This book brings together several key anthropologists working with digital culture to demonstrate just how productive an anthropological approach to the digital has already become. Through a range of case studies from Facebook to Second Life to Google Earth, Digital Anthropology explores how human and digital can be defined in relation to one another, from avatars and disability; cultural differences in how we use social networking sites or practise religion; the practical consequences of the digital for politics, museums, design, space and development to new online world and gaming communities. The book also explores the moral universe of the digital, from new anxieties to open-source ideals. Digital Anthropology reveals how only the intense scrutiny of ethnography can overturn assumptions about the impact of digital culture and reveal its profound consequences for everyday life. Combining the clarity of a textbook with an engaging style which conveys a passion for these new frontiers of enquiry, this book is essential reading for students and scholars of anthropology, media studies, communication studies, cultural studies and sociology.

Table of Contents

Section A: IntroductionThe Digital and The Human - Daniel Miller (University College London, UK) and Heather A. Horst (RMIT University, Australia)Section B: Positioning Digital AnthropologyRethinking 'Digital' Anthropology - Tom Boellstorff (University of California, Irvine, USA)New Media Technologies in Everyday Life - Heather A. Horst (RMIT University, Australia)Geomedia: the Reassertion of Space Within Digital Culture - Lane DeNicola (University College London, UK)Section C: Socialising Digital AnthropologyDisability in the Digital Age - Faye Ginsburg (New York University, USA)Approaches to Personal Communication - Stefana Broadbent (University College London, UK)Social Networking Sites - Daniel Miller (University College London, UK)Section D: Politicising Digital AnthropologyDigital Politics and Political Engagement - John Postill (Sheffield Hallam University, UK)Free Software and the Politics of Sharing - Jelena Karanovic (New York University, USA)Diverse Digital Worlds - Bart Barendregt (Leiden University, Netherlands)Digital Engagement: Voice and Participation in Development - Jo Tacchi (RMIT University, Australia)Section E: Designing Digital AnthropologyDigital Anthropology in Design Anthropology - Adam Drazin (University College London, UK)Museum Digital = ? - Haidy Geismar (New York University, USA)Digital Gaming, Game Design, and its Precursors - Thomas Malaby (University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, USA)

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Heather A. Horst is a Vice Chancellor's Senior Research Fellow in the School of Media and Communication at RMIT University, Australia.Daniel Miller is Professor of Material Culture at the Department of Anthropology, University College London, UK


"An important and, at times, provocative collection on the world of digital anthropology. The book is a must read for anyone trying to come to grips with one of anthropology’s newer sub-disciplines in a world where digital interactions and engagements frame our everyday. [...] Vivid, eloquent and provocative, this is a timely edited collection with an ambitious heart, one that should be thoroughly recommended to anyone researching or teaching in the area of the digital. Horst and Miller’s edited collection will have broad impact not only within anthropology but in disciplines where the digital features large. It is a book for any library. - Social Anthropology/Anthropologie Sociale - Fiona Murphy, Dublin City University, Ireland Highly recommended. All levels/libraries. - Choice: Current Reviews for Academic Libraries - A. Arno, University of Hawai'i at Manoa This remarkable volume provides a provocative survey of an emergent territory we are all coming to inhabit. Broad in coverage yet acutely attentive to the particulars, offering multiple perspectives yet elegantly integrative, and epistemologically bracing while deeply anthropological, this is a work of lasting value for experts and non-experts alike. - Don Brenneis, University of California, Santa Cruz Digital Anthropology is a smart, accessible, and timely edited collection. It successfully demonstrates the importance of an anthropological approach to digital culture and what the study of the digital has to offer to anthropology. It is a must read for anthropologists who are interested in digital technology and media and will be beneficial to researchers within adjacent disciplines such as communication and [new] media studies, sociology, and informatics. - Museum Anthropology Review - Matthew Hale Through a wide range of detailed case studies - from digital archives through gaming to social - Digital Anthropology explores the impact of digital culture in everyday life... This book is about communication both in the anthropological and in the digital context. It attempts to demonstrate what anthropology brings to the study of the digital and vice versa. it is a welcome contribution to discussion in the field. - Suomen Antropologi - Journal of the Finnish Anthropological Society - Anne Holappa, University of Turku Researchers and teachers alike have long been waiting for this invaluable guide to the tricky terrain of digital anthropology. Demonstrating what anthropology brings to the study of the digital and vice versa, Horst and Miller's book provides a firm launching-off point for new investigations of the remediations, remodulations, and reconfigurations associated with digital media and technology. - Paul Dourish, Professor of Informatics, University of California, Irvine Digital Anthropology is a beautifully curated book that reveals the importance of anthropological insight for understanding different aspects of networked society, from the spectacular to the mundane. In this formative book, Horst and Miller call attention to the ways in which digital technologies make visible our humanity. - danah boyd, Senior Researcher at Microsoft Research"