Elisabetta Costa | February 2016
This book presents an ethnographic study of social media in Mardin, a medium-sized town located in the Kurdish region of Turkey. The town is inhabited mainly by Sunni Muslim Arabs and Kurds, and has been transformed in recent years by urbanisation, neoliberalism and political events.
Nell Haynes | June 2016
Based on 15 months of ethnographic research in the city of Alto Hospicio in northern Chile, this book describes how the residents use social media, and the consequences of this use in their daily lives. Nell Haynes argues that social media is a place where Alto Hospicio’s residents – or Hospiceños – express their feelings of marginalisation that result from living in city far from the national capital, and with a notoriously low quality of life compared to other urban areas in Chile.
Xinyuan Wang | September 2016
Described as the biggest migration in human history, an estimated 250 million Chinese people have left their villages in recent decades to live and work in urban areas. Xinyuan Wang spent 15 months living among a community of these migrants in a small factory town in southeast China to track their use of social media. It was here she witnessed a second migration taking place: a movement from offline to online. As Wang argues, this is not simply a convenient analogy but represents the convergence of two phenomena as profound and consequential as each other, where the online world now provides a home for the migrant workers who feel otherwise ‘homeless’.
Tom McDonald | September 2016
China’s distinctive social media platforms have gained notable popularity among the nation’s vast number of internet users, but has China’s countryside been ‘left behind’ in this communication revolution?
Razvan Nicolescu | October 2016
Why is social media in southeast Italy so predictable when it is used by such a range of different people? This book describes the impact of social media on the population of a town in the southern region of Puglia, Italy. Razvan Nicolescu spent 15 months living among the town’s residents, exploring what it means to be an individual on social media. Why do people from this region conformon platforms that are designed for personal expression?
Daniel Miller and Jolynna Sinanan | March 2017
Since the growth of social media, human communication has become much more visual. This book presents a scholarly analysis of the images people post on a regular basis to Facebook. By including hundreds of examples, readers can see for themselves the differences between postings from a village north of London, and those from a small town in Trinidad. Why do women respond so differently to becoming a mother in England from the way they do in Trinidad? How are values such as carnival and suburbia expressed visually? Based on an examination of over 20,000 images, the authors argue that phenomena such as selfies and memes must be analysed in their local context. The book aims to highlight the importance of visual images today in patrolling and controlling the moral values of populations, and explores the changing role of photography from that of recording and representation, to that of communication, where an image not only documents an experience but also enhances it, making the moment itself more exciting.
Edited by Niels Brügger and Ralph Schroeder | March 2017
The World Wide Web has now been in use for more than 20 years. From early browsers to today’s principal source of information, entertainment and much else, the Web is an integral part of our daily lives, to the extent that some people believe ‘if it’s not online, it doesn’t exist.’ While this statement is not entirely true, it is becoming increasingly accurate, and reflects the Web’s role as an indispensable treasure trove. It is curious, therefore, that historians and social scientists have thus far made little use of the Web to investigate historical patterns of culture and society, despite making good use of letters, novels, newspapers, radio and television programmes, and other pre-digital artefacts.
Shriram Venkatraman | June 2017
One of the first ethnographic studies to explore use of social media in the everyday lives of people in Tamil Nadu, Social Media in South India provides an understanding of this subject in a region experiencing rapid transformation. The influx of IT companies over the past decade into what was once a space dominated by agriculture has resulted in a complex juxtaposition between an evolving knowledge economy and the traditions of rural life. While certain class tensions have emerged in response to this juxtaposition, a study of social media in the region suggests that similarities have also transpired, observed most clearly in the blurring of boundaries between work and life for both the old residents and the new.
Juliano Spyer | October 2017
Since the popularisation of the internet, low-income Brazilians have received little government support to help them access it. In response, they have largely self-financed their digital migration. Internet cafés became prosperous businesses in working-class neighbourhoods and rural settlements, and, more recently, families have aspired to buy their own home computer with hire purchase agreements. As low-income Brazilians began to access popular social media sites in the mid-2000s, affluent Brazilians ridiculed their limited technological skills, different tastes and poor schooling, but this did not deter them from expanding their online presence. Young people created profiles for barely literate older relatives and taught them to navigate platforms such as Facebook and WhatsApp.
Jolynna Sinanan | November 2017
Drawing on 15 months of ethnographic research in one of the most under-developed regions in the Caribbean island of Trinidad, this book describes the uses and consequences of social media for its residents. Jolynna Sinanan argues that this semi-urban town is a place in-between: somewhere city dwellers look down on and villagers look up to. The complex identity of the town is expressed through uses of social media, with significant results for understanding social media more generally.