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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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...
A New Public Order: Network Politics and the Tea Party Movement
Charles Pearson, Doctoral Candidate, University of California - Davis
This project addresses the production of a libertarian-conservative network politics by way of the Tea Party movement in the United States. The advent of social media and participatory networks has been heralded by a wide range of academic and popular critics as challenging and disrupting modernist logics and forms. Accordingly, a distinctive, multi-disciplinary body of work has emerged detailing new technosocial forms, subjectivities, and ethical imaginations which deconstruct doctrines of natural rights, subjectivities, and territories to emphasize the networked relationality of subjects and objects. Yet, propelled by a profound sense of estrangement and ambivalence toward emerging global forms and logics, Tea Party activists experimented with a participatory, if exclusionary, network politics emphasizing absolutist doctrines of nation and individual. It is a project, as one activist told me, “to create a new public order”.
It appears increasingly crucial in contemporary political engagement that political movements not only utilize the Internet, but that a movement's own understandings of the media apparatus begin to help form the content of its message. In this sense, linking form and ideology, the social network became the means through which Tea Party activists both effectively organized as well as articulated and demonstrated their vision for re-constituting politics and society. While some have argued that Tea Party organizational forms are rational responses to changing media and political environments, this project conceives the success of Tea Party strategies as being dependent on an ability to evoke or appear to embody absolutist individualist values and ethical judgments in their organizational structures. This experimentation with new social and political forms and subjectivities has resulted in the development of alternative network imaginaries, unsettling popular notions of social media and social networks.
Further, Tea Party de-centralized politics has presented problems for more traditionally centralized conservative politics and political parties. However, threatened establishment leaders and institutions have re-organized to an extent and are building, in one leader’s terms, a “de-centralized machine”. New strategies and technologies are being developed to encourage, yet manage, interactivity and emergence in open-system environments, and institutions and activists are increasingly linked in more collaborative information networks, with numerous and immediate feedback loops. This project examines these efforts to control the creative capacity of distributed political activists and networks, offering a new dimension into how we think about power and control in networked environments.
This project relied on participant-observation fieldwork methods. Ethnography was conducted at varying intensity from 2007-2011 in California, in Washington DC, and in a multitude of virtual sites with geographically-distributed activists, bloggers, pundits and more establishment-oriented political operatives.
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