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Digitalization and the Reconstitution of the Social and Political Realities of Human Being 
Kirsten Bell (King's College London)
Bruce Kapferer (UCL University of Bergen)
Marina Gold (University of Zurich)
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Tuesday 7 June, -
Time zone: Europe/London

Short Abstract:

The panel will address the methodological implications of anthropology in the digital age – an era of radical transformations in the imagination and formation of socio-political realities and potentially the very nature of human being itself.

Long Abstract:

The digital era promises profound changes and disjunctions in the constitution of humanity and the socio-economic and political situations of experience that has no clear parallels. Even the changes and consequences of the printing press (documented by Elizabeth Eisenstein and numerous others) are dwarfed by the digital, which is reaching into the realities of almost everywhere in the globe in a way far more expansive than did the effects of print.

In this panel, we begin to grapple with the implications of this transformation, which, we suggest, represents nothing less than the total restructuring (and reimaginationing) of the nature of sociality and, indeed, human being itself. Our goal is to examine such processes (accelerated under conditions of covid) and their impact on all aspects of life at all levels of scale – from political and economic orders, to the intimate and mundane (the everyday life of the digital).

The changes that are imagined, and even now being realized, raise issues of a thoroughly anthropological nature that may question hitherto prevailing assumptions. By centring the digital as a vital point of anthropological questioning, we explore its methodological significance for anthropology at this significant moment in history.

We aim for a mix of participants drawn from diverse geographic locations addressing critical areas of the digitalizing process including:

• the reimagination of interpersonal everyday life

• the restructuring of political/economic orders

• new dynamics of control and freedom

• reconfigurations of humanity and identity

• the social contradictions of digital realities.

Accepted papers:

Session 1 Tuesday 7 June, 2022, -