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Accepted Paper:

Media anthropology's legacies and concerns in digital times  
Philipp Budka (University of Vienna)

Paper short abstract:

This paper discusses selected aspects of media anthropology's legacies and concerns as well as its possible relevance in times of increasing digitalization.

Paper long abstract:

This paper reviews first selected issues and concerns of media anthropology that have already been identified and discussed in earlier works related to the anthropological study of media technologies. Research in this field has been, for instance, interested in media in relation to social change and development, the mediation of power and conflict, media related forms of production and consumption, the mediation of knowledge and forms of expression, and the materiality of media. In a wider anthropological context, these concerns are related to social hierarchies and power relationships, norms and political agency, economic exchange and reciprocity, ritualization and symbolism - all fundamental aspects of the sociocultural organization of human life.

In a second step, the paper aims at positioning selected subject matters - and media anthropology itself - in times of increasing digitalization. Thus it contributes to the discussion of the relationship between media anthropology and newly developed digital studies in anthropology such as digital anthropology. By taking a brief look at media anthropology's history and legacies while exploring possible futures for this sub-discipline, the paper connects to questions such as, What has been "the point of media anthropology" and what is its point in times of "the digital" (Postill & Peterson 2009)? What has been the role of ethnographic research and field work in media anthropology and how has it changed in respect to rapidly changing media environments? Which theoretical concepts and approaches hold the potential to contribute to the understanding of sociocultural phenomena in digital times?

Panel P013
Media anthropology's legacies and concerns [Media Anthropology Network]
  Session 1