UCL Anthropology


Elisabetta Costa

Email: e.costa@ucl.ac.uk

Research Interests

Digital anthropology; anthropology of media; digital culture; social media; journalism; foreign correspondents; politics; digital activism; social movement; social change; gender; digital intimacies; kinship; Turkey; Lebanon; Middle East.


Elisabetta Costa is an anthropologist specialising in the study of digital media, social media, journalism, politics and gender in Turkey and the Middle East. She has been working in the Global Social Media Impact Study based at UCL Department of Anthropology. The project aims at understanding the impact of social media on the world population. As part of it she carried out 15 months ethnography in Mardin, a medium-sized town in south-east Turkey, focusing especially on the impact of social media on politics, gender, kinship and intimate relations. The result of the research will be published in February 2016 by UCL Press in a monographic book entitled Social media in south-east Turkey, and in an edited book How the world changed social media. She has been awarded a PhD by the University of Milan-Bicocca in June 2011. Her ethnographic research explored the impact of digital media on the process of news production among foreign correspondents and local journalists based in Beirut.



Costa, E. 2016. Social Media in Southeast Turkey. London: UCL Press (Forthcoming. February 2016).

Costa, E. et al., 2016. How the World Changed Social Media. London: UCL Press (Forthcoming. February 2016).

Book Chapters

Costa, E. 2013. Introduzione all'ediziona Italiana. In: Miller D. 2013. Per un antropologia delle cose. Milano: Ledizioni.

Costa, E. 2012. Media-Attivismi e Tecnopolitiche Transnazionali nel Libano Post-Emergenza. In: Koensler A. and Rossi A., Comprendere il dissenso. Prospettive etnografiche sui movimenti sociali. Perugia: Morlacchi Editore.

Costa, E. 2011. Social Media for Social Change: New Media Development, Ideologies of the Internet and Activist Imaginary in Lebanon. In: Fabien Liénard & Sami Zlitni, La Communication électronique: enjeux de langues. Limoges: Lambert-Lucas.

Costa E. et al., 2009. Italian University Students and Digital Technologies: Some Results from a Field Research, pp: 357- 365. In Best practices for knowledge Society. Knowledge, Learning, Development, and technology for all. Springer Berlin Heidelberg.

Journal Articles

Costa, E. 2016. Guests editors' introduction (with Laura Menin) to the Special Issue "Digital Intimacies: Exploring Digital Media and Intimate Lives in the Middle East" Middle East Journal of Culture and Communication. (Forthcoming. Spring 2016)

Costa, E. 2011. Online Journalism and Political Activism in Lebanon. Oriente Moderno. XCI/1, Between Everyday Life and Political Revolution: the Social Web in the Middle-East. Special Issue edited by Armando Salvatore.

Costa E. et al. 2011. Facebook Influence on University Students Media Habits: Qualitative Results from a Field Research. MIT7 - Unstable Platforms: the Promise and Peril of Transition. (Conference Proceedings)

Costa E. et al. 2010. Gli Studenti Universitari Italiani e le Nuove Tecnologie Digitali di Comunicazione. International Journal of Information Sciences for Decision Making.

Costa E. et al. 2009. How do University Students Approach Digital Technologies: Empirical Results and Theoretical Considerations. MIT6 - Stone and Papyrus, Storage and Transmission. (Conference Proceedings)

Book Reviews

Costa, E. 2015. Review of Boyer D. 2013. The Life Informatic: Newsmaking in the Digital Era. Ithaca: Cornell University Press. For American Anthropologist

Costa, E. 2014. Review of Marichal J. 2012. Facebook Democracy: the Architecture of Disclosure and the Threat to Public Life. Surrey: Ashgate. For Cultural Sociology


Translation of the book: Miller D. 2009. Stuff. Cambridge: Polity Press. (Miller D. 2013. Per un'antropologia delle cose. Milano: Ledizioni)


Seminars, Conferences and Invited Talks

15 Jun. 2015: Social Media and Micro-Politics: a Comparative Ethnographic Study. SOAS, London, UK. Anthropology in London Day 2015: "Anthropology on the move".

07 May 2015: Social Media and the Public display of Knowledge in a Medium-sized Town in Southeast Turkey. UCL, London, UK. Workshop on Social Media and Education.

15 Apr. 2015 Social Media and Political Inequality in Southeast Turkey. Paper presented at annual meeting of the Association of Social Anthropologist (ASA), Exeter, UK. Convenor and discussant in the panel "Social Media and Inequality".

19 Feb. 2015 Antika and Utanma yok: Social Media and Social Change in Southeast Turkey. Invited Talk at King's College, London, UK. Workshop on Social media in low- and middle- income countries: interdisciplinary perspectives.

28 Jan. 2015 Social Media and Micro-Politics: a Comparative Ethnographic Study. Invited talk at the Centre for Media Studies SOAS, London, UK.

3-7 Dec. 2014 Social Media and Micro-Politics: a Comparative Ethnographic Study. Paper presented at the 113th annual American Anthropological Association Conference in Washington DC, USA.

22-25 Nov. 2014 Reconfiguring the Intimate and the Public: Social Media Photography in Southeast Turkey. Paper presented at the annual Middle East Study Association Conference in Washington DC, US.

30 May 2014 Honour and Facebook Photography in Southeast Turkey. Paper presented at the Annual Conference of the Royal Anthropological Institute, London, UK.

09 May 2013 Anthropology of Media: Case Studies from the Middle-East. Invited talk at Mardin Artuklu University, TURKEY.

27 May 2011 Participant at the workshop "Critical perspectives on Media and social change", organised by the EASA Media Anthropology Network at SOAS London, UK. http://mediasocialchange.net/

21-22 Mar. 2011. Online journalism and political activism in Lebanon. Paper presented at the conference Between Everyday Life and Political Revolution: the Social Web in the Middle-East. University L'Orientale, Naples, Italy.

9-10 Dec. 2010. Ideology of the internet, activist imaginary, and international humanitarian aid in Lebanon. Paper presented at the conference La communication électronique en situations mono et plurilingues, Le Havre, France.

24-27 Aug. 2010. Ideology of the internet and international humanitarian aid in Lebanon. Paper presented at the European Association of Social Anthropologist (EASA), Maynooth, Ireland.

14 Apr. 2010 Internet, socialnetwork e società civile in Medio Oriente: il caso libanese. Invited talk at the seminar: I nuovi media e il Web 2.0: nuove forme di condivisione e comunicazione della conoscenza University of Milan-Bicocca, Italy.

30-31 Mar. 2010 Social media for social change: mediattivismi e tecnopolitiche transnazionali nel Libano post-emergenza. Paper presented at the conference Antropologia della società civile ed etnografia dei movimenti sociali. University of Milan-Bicocca, Italy.


  • British Institute at Ankara (BIAA) (2015-ongoing)
  • European Research Council (2012-2015)
  • Italian Government Scholarship for PhD student (2007-2011)