Anthropology of Digital Culture
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Learned and shared ideas and patterns of behavior
An approach to studying everyday life as lived by groups of people
What is a virtual world?
They are places that have a sense of worldness, are multi-user in nature, are persistent- they continue to exist in some form even as participants log off, and are defined more by the interactions among the actors within it than by the technology with which it is implemented
Suggests active sharing of knowledge between members of a culture and ethnographers participating within it
Signifies that members of a culture inform ethnographers, sharing understandings of their lives through conversation and participatory activity
A breakup that is impersonal, utilizing texting, Facebook, Twitter, etc.
What people think about the media they use will shape the way they use media
The ways that people interlink media, suggesting that people define every technology in terms of the other communicative technologies available to them
Idioms of practice
People figure out together how to use different media and agree on the appropriate social uses of technology by asking advice and sharing stories with each other
Users who the designer thought would use the technology they created or designed
How people actually use the available technology
"Potato Chips of Information"
Gershon's theory that Facebook gives users limited details while peaking curiosity, but does not give the user a full understanding of the person they are viewing on Facebook
Gives the impression of mediating reality as little as possible. Photographs are perceived immediacy because people believe that a photographic image bears such strong resemblance to its subject that they forget it is in fact a medium
Gives the impression of duplicating the ways people experience reality; the excess of stimulus forces the observer to be as selective as they are with unmediated experiences. Video games are an example of hypermediation; they show how the medium is hyper creating immediacy
Gerson's "Public vs Private"
Definitions of public and private are changing as society incorporates more technology.
Public speech is speech that is read or heard by a particular person at the same time that it is read or heard by an indefinite number of impersonal others.
Multiple publics refers to the various audiences of who are receiving public speech and the demands of each group (think social media with friends and family vs just friends or just family
Privacy has become more subjective and blurred with public
Second Order Information/Communication
Information that can guide you into understanding how particular words and statements should be interpreted. This is based on the indications of how the sender would like the message received.
What is the significance of studying mediated breakups?
People are social analysts of their own lives and have developed complex interpretations of how a medium affects a message. How people break up is as important to them as the fact that they break up. This makes the media one chooses fro breaking up, and the media one chooses in the breakup's aftermath, an ethical choice.
Why study media ideologies?
Content isn't everything; media ideologies matter. Studying media ideologies provides insight in what people believe is being communicated. Media ideologies are one tool used for understanding the ways in which all communication i socially constructed and socially interpreted
What is the correlation between medium representation and break ups?
How a medium links representation to people's sensory experiences matters less than the ways a particular medium could give insight into why another person does what they do
What is ethnographic research?
An understanding of the cultural contexts in which human action takes place
Digital Technology and Culture Themes (5)
- 1. Technology
- 2. Human Relationships
- 3. Ideologies
- 4. Practice
- 5. Method
Digital Technology and Culture Themes: Technology
- Virtual worlds
Digital Technology and Culture Themes: Human Relationships
Human relationships are mediated by technology.
A form of exchange that involves a mutual giving and receiving of goods, services, etc
Digital Technology and Culture Themes: Ideologies
Attitudes, opinions, beliefs, or theories about the media in which is being used, ideologies about "Truth", ideologies, about public and private
Digital Technology and Culture Themes: Practice
Idioms of practice
Digital Technology and Culture Themes: Method
A Sanskrit word meaning "a god's embodiment on earth"
Ten myths of ethnographic research
Ethnography is: (1) unscientific, (2) less valid than quantitative research, (3) simply anecdotal, (4) undermined by subjectivity, (5) merely intuitive, (6) writing about your personal experience, (7) ethnographers contaminate fieldsites by their very presence, (8) is the same as grounded theory, (9) the same as ethnomethodology, (10) ethnography will become obsolete
Deals with descriptions, data can be observed but not measured, deals with colors, textures, tastes, appearance
Deals with numbers, data that can be measured, deals with length, height, area, volume
Anthropological Research Questions (3)
- 1. Emergence
- 2. Relevance
- 3. Personal Interest
Anthropological Research Question: Emergence
Ethnography is an emergent process of discovery; participant observation is intended to stimulate and scaffold open discovery as much as possible
Anthropological Research Question: Relevance
Good research ultimately centers around issues relevant to wider research communities; ethnographers research narrowly and think broadly
Anthropological Research Question: Personal Interest
Research is best served when honoring our own passions and intellectual interests. Participant observation is based on substantial commitments of time, emotion, and energy
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