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
- Add your project
- Mailing list
Social networking blog
The Riots in Brazil seen from a different planet
Tue, 18 Jun 2013 19:27:21 +0000
By Daniel Miller and Juliano Andrade Spyer After Egypt, Turkey, and other parts of the world, it is now time for Brazilians to appear on the front page of international newspapers – here and here. Yesterday, a quarter of a million people participated in political demonstrations across the country. But while I am also in Brazil, [...]Read more...
Anthropology of social media within the city and the Gezi Park protests
Sun, 16 Jun 2013 07:48:59 +0000
Our seven ethnographies on the impact of social media are all going to be carried out in seven different towns, in seven different countries. These have different sizes and characteristics, but as written in the research proposal they are all towns with links with bigger and cosmopolitan cities, and at the same time with surrounding [...]Read more...
My fieldwork experiences
Thu, 13 Jun 2013 08:59:09 +0000
Fieldwork is special in a lot of ways. The experiences that it throws at you are insightful, funny and interesting at the same time. I am sure that all of us have our own share of experiences. Here are a few of mine. Here’s one where I think I was mistaken to be a “(Medical) [...]Read more...
Locating the ‘previously thought extinct’ Brazilian dongle
Mon, 03 Jun 2013 09:00:36 +0000
“Who uses a dongle nowadays?” was the question that crossed my mind when I heard Shriram mentioning that these devices represented an important means by which many Indian people connected to the internet. In my world, dongles used as wireless modems belonged to the past. What was the point of using a dongle if mobiles could do [...]Read more...
Class and communication
Sat, 01 Jun 2013 10:00:02 +0000
I don’t really want to study social class, every researcher on English society seems obsessed with it, as are the general public. Consider the recent reaction to the BBC Great British Class Survey or books such as Watching the English. But after just two months fieldwork in The Groves I am immersed in a whole slew [...]Read more...
What 'friends' on the screen may mean: social networking shaping the Filipino diaspora
Dr Deirdre McKay
Senior Lecturer, Geography
William Smith Building
Staffordshire UK ST5 5NA
My current project studies social networking platforms as one locus among several in an ethnographic multisite in the broader Filipino diaspora. I’ve come to social networking as both site and research methodology because of my interest in much older forms of social organization – village and region – and my curiousity about the ways these forms persist and are being reinvigorated or transformed by polymedia and digital technologies. My recent book, Global Filipinos (2012) tracks migrants’ use of mobile phones as this new-to-respondents technology reshapes the intimate field of the village and its households. But this material is already history, with many of my current research participants having moved from texting home to their kids to ‘Facebooking’ them, combining webcam with chat and an image/video grab feed. As might be expected, it’s been my mobile and tech-savvy Filipino migrant respondents – including Ruel Bimuyag (photo 1) - who have motivated me to move my work on-line, not the other way around. My work on social networking is thus embedded in what are questions of intimacy, indigenous identities and distance – the ways people think and feel about themselves in and through a digitally-mediated world.
Because this research project is situated in what is already a well-characterized social field – the Kankana-ey ‘ili’ or village and regional Igorot cultures - I’m able to use my findings to challenge what are some persistent preconceptions about social networking by showing some of the various ways it may be taken up and appropriated to a cultural field characterized by long-established translocal connections. For example, I have shown that social networking is not simply ‘networked individualism’ but able to express and recompose forms of Filpino extended personhood that persist from the pre-colonial era (McKay, 2011). I’ve made this argument by analysing the appropriation of historical images as profile photographs. I have found such images on ‘friends’ lists that largely capture ties of kinship and propinquity, recreating a sense of village-ness for migrants now scattered across a number of receiving nations. Yet networks also work against these ties. I’ve been exploring the ways social networks facilitate the activities of ‘cutting the network’ (Strathern, 1996), excluding individuals from these same exchange relations, kin or community groups while also documenting new affiliations with churches or host nationals instead. While the temptation to read networks as open and expansive persists, analyzing practices of image posting and tagging reveals how digital platforms are now being used to give clear messages about belonging and its limits. Digital exclusions – the cropping of photographs and not-tagging of their subjects – is a powerful tool for shaping relationship and a public disciplinary strategy, amenable to practices of translocal surveillance. Increasingly, important ritual and life-course events are hosted digitally and are framed as ‘global’ in the village or regional sense only if they are evidently networked across village members posting comments from two or three different migrant-receiving nations and being ‘tagged’ to show not only those present, but to name those absent and indicate where they ought to be in the image. Finally, I’ve just started to examine the ways social networking platforms are being utilized for entrepreneurial activity, largely by young women who curate and resell second-hand clothes, some of which are sourced for them and sent ‘home’ by migrants working overseas (image 2).
McKay, Deirdre. (2012) Global Filipinos: Migrants’ Lives in the Virtual Village (Bloomington: Indiana University Press.) (Expected 19/6/2012)
McKay, Deirdre. (2011) On the Face of Facebook: Historical Images and Personhood in Filipino Social Networking. History and Anthropology 21, 4, 483-502.
Johnson, J.M. and McKay, D. (2011) Mediated Diasporas: Material Translations of the Philippines in a Globalized World. Southeast Asian Research 19(2). (introduction to a Special Issue).
Further papers on cutting the network and faith in diaspora, on ‘empty’ tags and the politics of absence and ghosts, and on Facebook entrepreneurs are in progress for 2012 conferences and will appear in my forthcoming book, Archipelago of Care (Indiana, 2014, under contract.)
Page last modified on 11 apr 12 14:48