Centre for Digital Anthropology

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Recent books

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Header picture by Route79 and issued under the following licence

book1 Anthropology has two main tasks: to understand what it is to be human and to examine how humanity is manifested differently in the diversity of culture. These tasks have gained new impetus from the extraordinary rise of the digital. This book brings together several key anthropologists working with digital culture to demonstrate just how productive an anthropological approach to the digital has already become.

Through a range of case studies from Facebook to Second Life to Google Earth, Digital Anthropology explores how human and digital can be defined in relation to one another, from avatars and disability; cultural differences in how we use social networking sites or practise religion; the practical consequences of the digital for politics, museums, read more…

book2 Facebook is now used by nearly 500 million people throughout the world, many of whom spend several hours a day on this site. Once the preserve of youth, the largest increase in usage today is amongst the older sections of the population. Yet until now there has been no major study of the impact of these social networking sites upon the lives of their users. This book demonstrates that it can be profound. The tales in this book reveal how Facebook can become the means by which people find and cultivate relationships, but can also be instrumental in breaking up marriage. They reveal how Facebook can bring back the lives of people isolated in their homes by illness or age, by shyness or failure, but equally Facebook can devastate privacy and create scandal. We discover why some people believe that the truth of another person lies more in what  read more…

book3 Grâce aux nouvelles technologies de l’information, les environnements professionnels ou scolaires dans lesquels les individus étaient jusqu’alors isolés de leur sphère privée sont maintenant ouverts aux communications personnelles. Les journées de travail sont désormais ponctuées d’interactions avec la famille, le conjoint, les amis, par l’intermédiaire de SMS, des e-mails, des appels téléphoniques, des réseaux sociaux, etc. Mais ces conversations personnelles vont à l’encontre de principes profondément ancrés dans le monde du travail selon lesquels il faut isoler l’individu de sa sphère privée afin de préserver sa productivité et son efficacité. Des entreprises ou des administrations empêchent l’accès aux réseaux sociaux ou interdisent l’utilisation de téléphones personnels pendant les heures de travail, en appliquant   read more…

book4 The deployment of information and communication technologies (ICTs) and their uptake by society affect radically the human condition, insofar as it modifies our relationships to ourselves, to others and to the world. The ever-increasing pervasiveness of ICTs shakes established reference frameworks through the following transformations: a. the blurring of the distinction between reality and virtuality; b. the blurring of the distinctions between human, machine and nature; c. the reversal from information scarcity to information abundance; and d. the shift from the primacy of entities to the primacy of interactions. The world is grasped by human minds through concepts: perception is necessarily mediated by concepts, as if they were the interfaces through which reality is experienced and interpreted. Concepts provide  read more…

book5 What happens when ritual practitioners from a small Pacific nation make an intellectual property claim to bungee jumping? When a German company successfully sues to defend its trademark of a Māori name? Or when UNESCO deems ephemeral sand drawings to be "intangible cultural heritage"? In Treasured Possessions, Haidy Geismar examines how global forms of cultural and intellectual property are being redefined by everyday people and policymakers in two markedly different Pacific nations. The New Hebrides, a small archipelago in Melanesia managed jointly by Britain and France until 1980, is now the independent nation-state of Vanuatu, with a population that is more than 95 percent read more...

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