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Centre for Digital Anthropology

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What is new and different about our engagement with digital technologies? Do digital technologies and practices alter or perpetuate existing social relationships, hierarchies and political structures? What does it mean to be off line in a digital age? What kinds of new subjectivities and publics do digital practices bring into being?

The Centre for Digital Anthropology is a leading research hub for the understanding of digital technologies in the rich context of human society and culture. Through teaching, research and a dynamic series of regular events, we encourage a global perspective on the development, structures, and practices of digital technologies. Our researchers work in Trinidad, Peru, Vanuatu, Switzerland, France, Romania, Turkey, Middle East, Brazil, The UK, China, India, Italy and work on social networks, webcams, digital museum collections, big data, digital models, massively multiplayer online role-playing games, with automated work systems, and with mobile phones. 

Digital World Blog

Experience Rich Anthropology Revisited

Sunday, 23 April 2017

Hannah Knox, UCL Anthropology 

When I was an undergraduate at the University of Manchester in the late 1990s I recall being introduced by John Gledhill to something called ‘Experience Rich Anthropology’. Established by the anthropology department at the University of Ken, the ERA project was an early attempt to use the possibilities of new media technologies to open up anthropology to new audiences, and to present anthropological knowledge in new ways. The site is still available to view here

It is remarkable then, that in the ensuing 20 years, anthropologists have been rather slow to embrace the possibilities of digital media. Particularly now, when as a matter of course most anthropologists carry around powerful digital research tools in their pockets (smart phones which contain a camera, sound recorder, GPS locator, mapping tools, access to mappable social networks), we still seem remarkably wedded to the form of the research monograph or written journal paper that perhaps includes a few well chosen photographs from our field sites.…

Our Lives with Electric Things: Call for Contributions

Friday, 03 February 2017

Jamie Cross, University of Edinburgh

Call for Contributions (max 300 words)
In: Cultural Anthropology / Theorizing the Contemporary

Our lives with electric things are positively charged with meaning. Our bodies are electric, our hearts and minds pulsing with electrical activity. Electric things have hope and anxiety, possibility and danger. Our electric attachments are sacred and profane, personal and political. Electrically powered things mediate human sociality across time and space just as they mediate our ecological and inter-species relationships. At the beginning of the 21st century, in an epoch (the electrocene, perhaps) defined simultaneously by the global abundance and unevenness of electricity supply, our electric things simultaneously shock us into action and insulate us from change. Just as electrically powered goods, devices and appliances have transformed our possibilities for reproducing, nurturing and sustaining life (coming to define ideas of the good life) so too have they created new possibilities for controlling, managing, exploiting and ending life.

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