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Making Anthropology Modern (again): Using Social Media to Communicate Anthropological Insight II 
Anya Duxbury (Queen's University Belfast)
Jessica Symons (Visioning Lab)
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Peter Froggatt Centre (PFC), 02/009
Friday 29 July, -
Time zone: Europe/London

Short Abstract:

This lab explores strategies for applying learning from ethnographic research of social media to support increased awareness of anthropology. We invite lab participants to bring research into social media activities AND/OR with ideas about how they want to use social media to share their findings.

Long Abstract:

Anthropologists are often accused of introspective navel-gazing - forever examining the discipline, seeking to understand what it is, how it works, who has the right to be an anthropologist and what role we play in contemporary society. This is both a gift and a curse. Continuous self-analysis leads to a highly nuanced and sophisticated recognition of our strengths and weaknesses, of what we can bring to society and the impact of our insight on others. But we also still carry the shame of the discipline’s early colonial associations, anxiety about intervening in the lives of others and hesitancy about speaking out. While some anthropologists work in collaboration with governments and companies, they also stand accused by others as 'selling out' and 'working with the enemy'.

Meanwhile, the need for anthropological insight grows greater every day. The topics that have preoccupied anthropologists for the past decades such as BLM, gender diversity, socio-cultural divisions, populist governments and environmental collapse, are now mainstream news, not just sites for niche analysis. Social media has become the pressure cooker that sits at the heart of these polarising opinions and practices - Facebook’s algorithms, Twitter’s trolls, Tiktok and Insta’s obsession with appearance.

Among anthropologists, research into these activities identified these issues as they emerged, warning about their impact. Instead, we need to mobilise our resources and develop strategies for tackling the challenges. As ever, a key issue is public awareness of the role and potential for anthropologists to share insight and facilitate understanding about contemporary issues.

This lab will take place in the hybrid format (face to face and online).

Activities will include:

Discussion about effectiveness of using social media to communicate anthropological insight

Planning 'intervention’ via social media

Using our social media networks

Monitoring responses

Follow up discussion about effectiveness of using social media to communicate anthropological insight.

Any number of participants can join.