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Global anthropology in a digital age
Katrien Pype (KU Leuven University)
Daniel Miller (University College London (UCL))
Sahana Udupa (Munich University), Richard Wilk (Indiana University)
Time zone:
Tuesday 21 July, 11:00-12:45, 14:00-15:45

Short abstract:

This panel aims to rethink the possibilities for, and the contradictions contained, by the project of a contemporary Global anthropology, considering the global impact of digital technologies, and in the light of calls to decolonize the discipline.

Long abstract:

Thinking in terms of the global has always been a challenge to anthropology given our primary method of ethnography is resolute in its parochialism. The issue become even clearer and more immediate in a digital age, when new developments become ubiquitous and raise immediate questions as to whether they act to homogenise the world or provide new platforms for heterogeneity. At the same time, calls to decolonize our discipline are sounding louder and louder. Both trends (digitalization of society globally; and critiquing the colonial/colonialist underpinnings of our discipline) invite us to reconsider the whole endeavour of "global anthropology". Yet, instead of discarding the project, we aim to rethink what the possibilities are of a Global anthropology in the contemporary Digital Age. Questions to be addressed are: So how do we create a global digital anthropology that is sensitive to ethnography? Should this be at the level of theory or does that betray specificity? Could it be through allusion to global forces such as political economy or global regulatory authorities. Alternatively, we could argue for a method that reconciles cultural relativism with global local perspectives through comparative anthropology. In this case, the question is how can that be resurrected and foregrounded in contemporary anthropology? We will cite examples from Congo to Ireland, from Japan to Chile and welcome further contributions.