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Representing fieldwork online



Finding adequate means of presenting fieldwork material and other scientific publications in the internet has become a growing concern to some of us in our institute lately. In my search for inspiration I found these galleries on current fielwork projects carried out by Dutch anthopologists and published by ASKmedia.org. For instance, there is this contribution on anthropology and photography covering the second hand car market in Cotonou (Benin) with text and pictures. Also have a look at this gallery on religious groups in Ghana and their use of mass media combining text, pictures (poor quality, though) as well as impressive video sequences.

I would be interested in hearing our cyber specialists' comments on these online-publications of fieldwork material. Are these useful approaches? Do they fulfil the requirements of what we think to be anthropological representations?


... Comment

...or should we shift this to 'cyberethnologica'?

... Link

No, presenting fieldwork in the internet is not cyberethnologica. It's the normal use of the internet as a tool, as every science is currently doing.
Cyberethnologica involves mainly the aspect of researching culture of an in the internet. Internet is seen as a new space in which culture grows with differences and analogies to local bounded communities. It's about culture that is exchanged and negotiated mainly by the use of communication technologies. Maybe, as a second field, cyberethnologica is also the transforming of cultures to the space of the internet and thus the adoption of communication technologies by ethnic groups. If so, the last point (ghana people using mass media) could be of interest for cyberanthropology. But I would rather file that under tech. adaption.

This is meant as a general advice for keeping apart those scientific subjects, it's not too important in which category of ethno::log you post.

... Link

Got it, thanks. Then my questions for sure don't have anything to do with cyberanth.. They are rather about adapting the internet to the issues of fieldwork presentation.

... Link

Cyberanthropology

My personal definition:

Cyberanthropology is the branch of sociocultural anthropology which aims to understand the relation between human beings and cybernetic systems. Admitted, in my case Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) in particular.

A little simplification allows the relations between social/cultural anthropology and ICTs to be seen as consisting of three main aspects:

1.ICTs as tools for sociocultural anthropologists both in teaching and research. The spectrum reaches from using a personal computer as a typewriter, using and/or generating online-databases and -catalogues, communicating with colleagues and peers via internet-services, to keeping in touch with informants online. But especially the theory-based generation of new forms of representations of fieldwork-results, or scientific knowledge in general. (Think of the Writing-Culture debate and else.)

2.The sociocultural anthropological observation, analysis and interpretation of the consequences of the introduction of ICTs into specific societies and/or groups. (Again I emphasize the fact that this comprises the whole world, and not "just those" in the traditional field of the discipline, but does not exclude 'them' as well.) Concepts like 'cultural adoption of technology' and 'ethnography of work' are indispensable for this task.

3.The sociocultural anthropological observation, analysis and interpretation of the sociocultural phenomena springing up and taking place in the interactive 'space' generated by ICTs ? more often than not called "cyberspace".

To which degree this aspects become mutually influential or even inseperable, depends on the specific research-projects, the involved methods and the specific desideratum of understanding.

... Link

Alright, then this broader definition provided by zephyrin focusing on ICTs as the crucial element of/in cyberanthropology reassures me that my question on where (under which category) to post my story wasn't all too much off target. I will still keep this 'Fieldwork online'-series under 'fieldwork' but rather re-name it (I knew the title would be ambiguous, and the preceding definitions affirm it): 'Representing fieldwork online' is more adequate.

It would be interesting to present a collection of already published fieldwork projects and their anthropological results as some kind of 'inventory'. Viewing them critically might help us in our discussion about the generation of forms of representation - and I agree that this task involves theoretical reflections stemming from our discipline.

... Link


... Comment

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