Accepted paper:

Urban anthropology goes digital: self-representation in social media usage for city planning

Author:

Daria Radchenko (RANEPA)

Paper short abstract:

The paper will be focused on the social and cultural meanings of photography, produced and shared by users of social media, theoretical and empirical approaches to the usage of user photos in anthropology and the implications of digital anthropology findings for urban planning and design.

Paper long abstract:

Participant and non-participant observation has for decades been key methods of anthropological research. A classically trained anthropologist would spend months with the community he or she is interested in, observing its everyday life, feasts and rites and doing a "thick description" (Geertz 1973) of the norms and values underlying these practices. Today applied urban anthropology, however, finds itself under serious time pressure: it needs to get as much information on the life of a city within weeks rather than months. Digital anthropology is one of the answers to this challenge. Research of on-line traces of human activity (including texts, likes, shares and photos) allows to get a look inside everyday practices of a whole year. Importantly, these traces are a subject of social norms and attitudes, and thus they give an insight not only into lives of individuals, but also give an understanding of what the community sees as valuable and prestigious. The paper will be focused on the social and cultural meanings of photography, produced and shared by users of social media, theoretical and empirical approaches to the usage of user photos in anthropology and the implications of digital anthropology findings for urban planning and design on the case of 33 Russian "monotowns" (mostly economically declining cities and towns economically based on a single industry). The data allows the researcher not only to understand the processes of digital self-presentation, but also the data which were meant to be private are working for the public benefit of renewing the cities.

panel Digi02
Changing features? Performing the self in digital culture [SIEF WG Digital Ethnology and Folklore] [P+R]