Anthropology of social networking
- A New Public Order: Network Politics and the Tea Party Movement
- Facebook in Trinidad
- Occupying Cyberspace: Indonesian Cyberactivism and Occupy Wall Street
- 'Online togetherness' of Brazilian migrants on social network sites
- Secret communication systems in Facebook
- Shifting Fields: Social Media, Religion and Popular Culture in Brazil and the Diaspora
- What 'friends' on the screen may mean: social networking shaping the Filipino diaspora
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Social networking blog
Child in India? Sorry! No Facebook then!
Mon, 20 May 2013 11:57:07 +0000
The Delhi High Court had questioned the Union Government of India on why minors (children below 18 years of age) were on Facebook and Google. This was in response to a case filed by an ideologue of a major political party in India. The issue they wanted explained was how someone under the age of [...]
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What is social media about?
Thu, 09 May 2013 11:53:59 +0000
In this post I will summarise my individual interest in this project and how it relates to my previous work. In my PhD I discussed a particular and apparently individual reaction to the lack of appropriate alignment of the individual to the external forces that come from society. I showed that in rural southeast Romania [...]
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‘What is social media?’ – a definition
Tue, 30 Apr 2013 23:01:01 +0000
Having described our project as the Global Social Media Impact Study, we realised there was just one little thing we hadn’t actually done. This was to define, at least for our purposes, what we mean by the words ‘social media’. Our studies are ethnographies, there is pretty much nothing we would not wish to include. [...]
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The secret world of the inbox
Wed, 24 Apr 2013 20:03:35 +0000
This is my last week in my field site until 2014. I’ve been hussling to spend as much time with as many people as I can in the last couple of weeks, I’ve been invited to a wedding, a ceremony of Hindu prayers (a puja), a political rally, a cd launch by a local band and [...]
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Chinese ‘WeChat’ social media app will make the world look around and shake!
Mon, 22 Apr 2013 01:38:40 +0000
Two years is a long time in the world of social media. This point has been reinforced to me multiple times in the last few weeks since my return to China. When I was in the country carrying out research for my PhD in 2011, no-one in my fieldsite was talking about WeChat (威信 weixin). [...]Read more...
Facebook in Trinidad
Daniel Miller and Jolynna Sinanan
Fieldwork for this study was carried out in the winter of 2009/10. It was an offshoot of a different project on migration and transnational communication that was being conducted by Daniel Miller with Mirca Madianou and which produced the book Migration and New Media: Transnational Families and Polymedia. Once in Trinidad it became clear that Facebook was now of considerable significance and so additional research was undertaken to focus specifically on this. As background I also used the experience of many Trinidadians who had become Danny’s own Facebook friends over the proceeding two years.
The results of that study were published as D. Miller Tales From Facebook in 2011 with Polity Press. The book was largely intended for a popular audience with the first two thirds of the book consisting of 12 portraits of individuals from Trinidad and how their lives had been changed. This was followed by more academic essays on how Trinidadian this had become, on 15 thesis about Facebook in general and finally a highly academic essay proposing an anthropological theory of Facebook based on the work of Nancy Munn. Since then this book has been published in a shortened version in German as Das Wilde Netzwork by Suhrkamp. A translation is also planned into Portuguese to be published in Brazil.
The most important conclusions from this study included an argument that social networking should not be overly associated with its point of origin in the US or amongst youth. Rather it seems destined to play a larger role amongst those who want to maintain sociality but are inhibited from doing so. Examples included the housebound, the shy, the elderly. The book also shows how as with other media it is better to understand Facebook as something constructed by Trinidadians and specific to the region, rather than merely an appropriation of something whose authenticity lies elsewhere.
The study of Facebook combined with the earlier work in the Philippines has also been used by Miller and Mirca Madianour to create a new theory of Polymedia. This argues that social networking sites alongside other new media. Once issues of price and access move to the background we see a re-socialising of our relationship to communicative media in general as people are held morally responsible for their choice of one media over another. This point is summarised in a forthcoming paper in the International Journal of Cultural Studies.
The Facebook study was followed by further research by Jolynna Sinanan and Miller in Trinidad during the winter of 2011/12 which concentrated on the impact of webcam and will result in a further book called Webcam which will also be published by Polity. We also continued investigations of the use of Facebook during this research
The Trinidadian study will now form a base line for the further work by us both which forms one of the seven case studies within the ERC program. This will become the most long term of these studies with the previous work in 2009-2012 to be followed by further fieldwork over the next four years to 2016.
Page last modified on 13 mar 12 22:15