1st Edition

The Routledge Companion to Media Anthropology

    644 Pages 30 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    644 Pages 30 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    The Routledge Companion to Media Anthropology provides a broad overview of the widening and flourishing area of media anthropology, and outlines key themes, debates, and emerging directions.

    The Routledge Companion to Media Anthropology draws together the work of scholars from across the globe, with rich ethnographic studies that address a wide range of media practices and forms. Comprising 41 chapters by a team of international contributors, the Companion is divided into three parts:

    • Histories
    • Approaches
    • Thematic Considerations.

    The chapters offer wide-ranging explorations of how forms of mediation influence communication, social relationships, cultural practices, participation, and social change, as well as production and access to information and knowledge. This volume considers new developments, and highlights the ways in which anthropology can contribute to the study of the human condition and the social processes in which media are entangled.

    This is an indispensable teaching resource for advanced undergraduate and postgraduate students and an essential text for scholars working across the areas that media anthropology engages with, including anthropology, sociology, media and cultural studies, internet and communication studies, and science and technology studies.

    Chapters 7, 12 and 15 (CC-BY-NC-ND) and Chapter 6 (CC-BY-ND) of this book are freely available as downloadable Open Access PDFs at http://www.taylorfrancis.com.


    Elisabetta Costa, Patricia G. Lange, Nell Haynes, Jolynna Sinanan

    PART I: Histories

    1. Media Anthropology and the Digital Challenge

    Mark Allen Peterson

    2. Indigenous Media: Anthropological Perspectives and Historical Notes

    Philipp Budka

    3. A Longitudinal Study of Media in Brazil

    Conrad Phillip Kottak and Richard Pace

    PART II: Approaches

    A. Media as Infrastructure

    4. "Here, Listen to My CD-R": Music Transactions and Infrastructures in Underground Hip-Hop Touring

    Anthony Kwame Harrison

    5. "Technology is Wonderful Until It Isn't": Community-Based Research and the Precarity of Digital Infrastructure

    Jerome Crowder, Peggy Determeyer, and Sara Rogers

    6. Media Migration

    Patricia G. Lange

    7. The Digitally Natural: Hypomediacy and the "Really Real" in Game Design

    Thomas M. Malaby

    B. Media as Practice

    8. Media Practices and Their Social Effects

    John Postill

    9. Television is Not a Democracy: The Limits of Interactive Broadcast in Japan

    Elizabeth A. Rodwell

    10. Producing Place through Play: An Ethnography of Location-based Gaming

    Kyle Moore

    11. PhotoMedia as Anthropology: Towards a Speculative Research Method

    Edgar Gómez Cruz

    12. Content-as-Practice: Studying Digital Content with a Media Practice Approach

    Christoph Bareither

    C. Media as Materiality

    13. The Materiality of the Virtual in Urban Space

    Jordan Kraemer

    14. Anthropology and Digitial Media: Multivocal Materialities of Video Meetings and Deafness

    Rebekah Cupitt

    15. Cloudwork: Data Centre Labour and the Maintenance of Media Infrastructure

    A.R.E. Taylor

    16. Media Anthropology and Emerging Technologies: Re-working Media Presence

    Sarah Pink, Yolande Strengers, Melisa Duque, Larissa Nichols, and Rex Martin

    D. Media as Representation

    17. #Everest: Visual Economies of Leisure and Labour in the Tourist Encounter

    Jolynna Sinanan

    18. Postcolonial Digital Collections: Instruments, Mirrors, Agents

    Haidy Geismar and Katja Müller

    19. Ethnographies of the Digitally Dispossessed

    Heather Ford

    PART III: Thematic Considerations

    A. Relationships

    20. "Friends from WeChat Groups": The Practice of Friendship via Social Media among Older People in China

    Xinyuan Wang

    21. Mediated Money and Social Relationships among Hong Kong Cross-boundary Students

    Tom McDonald, Holy Hoi Ki Shum and Kwok Cheung Wong

    22. Narratives of Digital Intimacy: Romanian Migration and Mediated Transnational Life

    Donya Alinejad and Laura Candidatu

    B. Social Inequality and Marginalisation

    23. Mediating Hopes: Social Media and Crisis in Northern Italy

    Elisabetta Costa

    24. Digital Inequality and Relatedness in India after Access

    Sirpa Tenhunen

    25. In This Together: Black Women, Collective Screening Experiences, and Space-Making as Meaning-Making

    Marlaina Martin

    26. Black Gamer’s Refuge: Finding Community within the Magic Circle of Whiteness

    Akil Fletcher

    C. Identities and Social Change

    27. Inking Identity: Indigenous Nationalism in Bolivian Tattoo Art

    Nell Haynes

    28. Being Known and Becoming Famous in Kampala, Uganda

    Brooke Schwartz Bocast

    29. The Hall of Mirrors: Negotiating Gender on Chilean Social Media

    Baird Campbell

    D. Political Conservatism

    30. Media Anthropology and the Crisis of Facts

    Peter Hervik

    31. Conspiracy Media Ecologies and the Case for Guerilla Anthropology

    Leighton C. Peterson and Jeb J. Card

    32. Researching Political Trolls as Instruments of Political Conservatism in Turkey: A Historical Framework and Methodological Reflections on a Discourse Community

    Erkan Saka

    33. Performing Conservatism: A Study of Emerging Political Mobilisations in Latin America using "Social Media Drama" Analysis

    Raúl Castro-Pérez

    E. Surveillance

    34. Algorithmic Violence in Everyday Life and the Role of Media Anthropology

    Veronica Barassi

    35. Queer and Muslim? Social Surveillance and Islamic Sexual Ethics on Twitter

    Benjamin Ale-Ebrahim

    36. Queer Sousveillance: Publics, Politics, and Social Media in South Korea

    Alex Wolff

    F. Emerging Technologies and Contemporary Challenges: Data, AI and VR

    37. The Algorithmic Silhouette: New Technologies and the Fashionable Body

    Heather A. Horst and Sheba Mohammid

    38. Unlocking Heritage In Situ: Tourist Places and Augmented Reality in Estonia

    Christian S. Ritter

    39. Precarity, Discriminiation and (In)Visibility: An Ethnography of "The Algorithm" in the YouTube Influencer Industry

    Zoë Glatt

    40. AI Design and Everyday Logics in the Kalahari

    Nicola J. Bidwell, Helen Arnold, Alan F. Blackwell, Charlie Nqeisji, |Kun Kunta, and Martin Ujakpa

    41. Ethnography of/and Virtual Reality

    Lisa Messeri


    Eric W. Rothenbuhler




    Elisabetta Costa is Assistant Professor in Media Studies at the University of Groningen, the Netherlands.

    Patricia G. Lange is Associate Professor and Chair of Critical Studies at California College of the Arts, USA.

    Nell Haynes is a faculty member in the Department of Global Studies at Saint Mary’s College, USA.

    Jolynna Sinanan is a Lecturer in Social and Digital Anthropology at the University of Manchester, UK.

    "Media anthropology, just like the media itself, is a fast-moving field of enquiry, especially in the light of new digital technologies. What makes this volume essential is the way it effectively brings the reader up to date with some of the most exciting and insightful developments as well as new approaches. It also provides a very effective balance between the depth one associates with ethnographically based studies and the breadth that is required in encompassing a field that ranges from infrastructure and practice to materiality and inequality."

    Daniel Miller, Professor, UCL Department of Anthropology, London

    "This rich and engaging volume successfully redefines the field of media anthropology for a digital world, while respecting and building upon the pioneering work that established the field. Over 40 ethnographers explore contemporary phenomena and the cultural practices around them - from gaming to YouTube, fashion to tourism -- while interrogating the global realities of inequality, injustice, and surveillance. Especially timely is the focus on the role of media in the rise of extremism and the crisis of truth, offering a stark warning for the future."

    Elizabeth Bird, Professor Emerita, Department of Anthropology, University of South Florida

    "This important collection brings together many of the world’s significant and emerging voices in media studies, digital research, and anthropology. It offers a comprehensive overview of where media anthropology has come from, how it has developed, and where it is going. Contributions include reflections on key moments in the development of media anthropology, consideration of the methodological, theoretical, and political opportunities that media anthropology has brought to academic research, and a vision of the near future that media anthropology offers new generations of students and scholars. The transregional and multigenerational scope demonstrates how media anthropology has developed and evolved, both within and beyond the disciplines from which it began."

    Anna Cristina Pertierra, Professor, School of Design, University of Technology Sydney