It was a wonderful, intense week full of readings and some ethnographic films. I’m in the process of setting up my research project in Digital Anthropology, since I will be presenting about that on Thursday next week. More on that later.
The readings, presentations and discussion in Digital Anthropology Unit 10 landed in the conviction (for me at least) that the “true or false” is the least important aspect of fake news. Instead, they and their adherents should be seen as a belief system or cult, as worthy of study (and respect) as any esoteric group. Focusing on “true or false” thereby becomes as uninteresting as discussing whether God exists.
I think the framework of virtual world research would be applicable for the study of “fake news fans”. Pizzagate is an example of how things go completely wrong when someone takes the virtual concept of fake news into the actual world. Like an exception that proves the rule, that incident confirms how the virtuality of fake news is taken for granted.
In Ethnographic Film Unit 9 Lydall’s text Beating around the Bush was really interesting in describing and analysing the “wife beating” of the Hamar.
I started reading Michael Fisch’s ethnography on the Tokyo commuter train network An Anthropology of the Machine. I heard an interview with him in the Anthropod podcast in September 2018 (week 38, 2018), and when he surfaced again in a seminal reading by Brian Larkin for Digital Anthropology Unit 9, on infrastructures (week 2, 2019), I checked him up again and realised that this book had just been released. So far he’s laying out the theory. Although I primarily bought this book “for fun”, I think it fits very well into my studies and projects.
Just like Tom Boellstorff in his Second Life research, Fisch focuses on “the gap”. Whereas Boellstorff’s gap is between the virtual and the actual world, Fisch’s gap is between the time table of the trains (the ideal world) and the actual outcome. It’s not unrelated at all and definitely relevant for the things I want to study.
Since the chapter 8 in the handbook by Boellstorff et al was the reading for the Digital Anthropology Colloquium 1 next week, I started reading the book from the start. It’s such an easy an inspiring read, and so well written, that I think the book in full should be mandatory for the very first unit of this course. (We read chapters 2 and 4 for Unit 4 – week 48, 2018.)
Finished Mr Robot season 2 but was not impressed by the resolution.
The week ended with Chris Marker’s film Sans Soleil. I did not like it. At all.
As every week I checked the latest Gutenberg reviews. It’s so sad to see people work a lot on something and then get it completely wrong.
Digital Anthropology Unit 10
Studying online phenomena: Fake News, Virality and manipulative data practices
- The Conversation/Yuwei Lin: #DeleteFacebook is still feeding the beast – but there are ways to overcome surveillance capitalism
- Michael Zimmer: How Contextual Integrity can help us with Research Ethics in Pervasive Data
Digital Anthropology Colloquium 1
Students’ Planned Research & the Ethical Considerations.
- Boellstorff, Tom, Bonnie Nardi, Cecilia Pearce, and T.L. Taylor (2012): Chapter 8: Ethics. In Ethnography and Virtual Worlds. Handbook of methods., pp. 129-150.
Readings related to my research.
- Boellstorff, Tom, Bonnie Nardi, Cecilia Pearce, and T.L. Taylor (2012): Ethnography and Virtual Worlds. Handbook of methods:
- Foreword by George Marcus (pp. xiii-xvii)
- 1: Why this handbook? (pp. 1-12)
- 3: Ten myths about ethnography (pp. 29-51)
- Fisch, Michael (2018): An Anthropology of the Machine. Tokyo’s Commuter Train Network:
- Preface (pp. ix-xi)
- Introduction: Toward a Theory of the Machine (pp. 1-28)
- 1: Finessing the Interval (pp. 29-47)
- Frennea, Melissa (2012): The Prevalence of Rape and Child Pornography in Yaoi, 34 p.
Ethnographic Film Unit 10
Issues of Representation: A Case Study of the Hamar
- Lydall, Jean (2006): Imperilled name and pained heart. More about Duka’s Dilemma’. In Jean Lydall and Ivo Strecker (eds.): The Perils of Face, Essays on cultural contact, respect and self-esteem in southern Ethiopia, pp. 311-337.
- Lydall, Jean (1994): Beating around the Bush. In Proceedings of the Eleventh International Conference of Ethiopian Studies, volume II, 26 p.
And these films:
- Robert Gardner: Rivers of Sand (1974, 84 min)
- Kaira Strecker and Jean Lydall: Duka’s Dilemma (2001, 88 min)
Ethnographic Film Unit 11
- Russell, Catherine (1999): Autoethnography: Journeys of the Self. In Experimental Ethnography, pp. 275-315.
And the film:
- Chris Marker: Sans Soleil (1982, 100 min)
- The Economist: The steam has gone out of globalisation
- The Economist: Donald Trump made a dreadful miscalculation over the shutdown
- The Economist: Companies can appeal to workers and consumers with liberal messages
- The Economist: The arrival of Foxconn in Wisconsin divides Democrats
- The Guardian/Elfriede Jelinek, Milan Kundera, Orhan Pamuk, Salman Rushdie, and 26 others: Fight for Europe – or the wreckers will destroy it
- The Independent/Lucy Jones: Why the Fyre Festival documentaries were so terrifying
- Insider: The world’s biggest YouTube stars told us they’re burning out because of the unrelenting pressure to post new videos
- Post Status/Brian Krogsgard: Post formats are slowly dying, and that’s okay (great piece from 2014 that made me understand the trajectory of post formats and why I don’t need them)
- Alexandre Enkerli: Rapport: The Informal Ethnographer Podcast (2009)
- 6: Draft Aesthetics
- 7: Teaching Ethnography
- 8: Failures of Anthropology
Film & video
- Hubert Sauper: Darwin’s Nightmare (2004, 107 min)
- Gurminder K Bhambra: Colonial Histories/Postcolonial Societies: On the Politics of Selective Memory in Europe (2018, 95 min)
- Casey Neistat: Burnt OUT YouTubers
- Simone Giertz: My brain tumor is back