ethnographic skype

Oftentimes there is a confusion about what anthropological ‘fieldwork’ actually is. Following the dear, self-created myths of the profession the term ‘fieldwork’ (which—as a term and as a concept— has a longer tradition in sociology than in anthropology) is mixed up with the Riversian/Malinowskian paradigm: at least one year abroad + participant observation (roughly sketched). This is not fieldwork in general, but already one specific version of it. Things are made even worse by an utter uncertainty about what ‘participant observation’ (another dear myth of the profession) actually is. For seeing more clearly in this matter I only can recommend … Continue reading

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fatal feedback

Spiegel online since yesterday carries a ↑follow-up to the events behind the ↵MMOG-related ↵homicide in China. The author Christian Stöcker nicely links the ‘dragon sabre murder’ with recent ongoings concerning ‘computergames violence’ issues: Hillary Rodham Clinton seems to appropriate the topic for her campaign and heavily critizes the Grand Theft Auto (GTA) series. A somewhat late criticism as already the first installment of the game (for PlayStation and PC) provoked controversy back in 1997. All right, Clinton especially preys on the infamous hooker-murder in ↵GTA3—but GTA3 was released in 2001 (for PlayStation2, then 2002 for PC, and 2003 for the … Continue reading

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world wind works

There is something new: A globe about the size of a grapefruit, a perfectly detailed rendition of Planet Earth, hanging in space at arm’s length in front of his eyes. Hiro has heard about this but never seen it It is a piece of CIC software called, simply, Earth. It is the user interface that CIC uses to keep track of every bit of spatial information that it owns-all the maps, weather data, architectural plans, and satellite surveillance stuff. Hiro has been thinking that in a few years, if he does really well in the intel biz, maybe he will … Continue reading

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world wind

No time to test it today, but tomorrow I surely will. My machine copes with ↵HL2, so hopefully it will cope with the recently released ↑NASA World Wind 1.3: “World Wind lets you zoom from satellite altitude into any place on Earth. Leveraging Landsat satellite imagery and Shuttle Radar Topography Mission data, World Wind lets you experience Earth terrain in visually rich 3D, just as if you were really there. Virtually visit any place in the world. Look across the Andes, into the Grand Canyon, over the Alps, or along the African Sahara. […] NASA has released World Wind as … Continue reading

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cyber sabre

Quite a time ago, while drinking beer at a party organised by our students, I told a fellow anthropologist about game-items from Everquest being sold at ebay (see e.g. Castronova ↵2001 and ↵2003). All I harvested was an amused smile and the somewhat depreciatory comment “That’s completely crazy!” Resisting the temptation to answer “And what about ‘your people’? Talkin’ to the Dead! Bah!—Humbug!” (my colleague has done equally extensive and phantastic, simply great fieldwork in Southern India) I instead started to think about the response—I had to think a bit in order to reach the following quite obvious conclusions, for … Continue reading

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biella in the maelstrom of complexity and confusion

Enid Gabrielle ‘Biella’ Coleman is a graduate student in ↵cultural anthropology at the University of Chicago. Currently she writes her PhD thesis on the ethical dynamics and political implications of the Free and Open Source movement. Her fieldwork, which mainly took place in the San Francisco Bay Area, consisted of going to free software meetings, interviewing programmers, and conducting online research. Besides ↑her homepage she has at least three blogs: ↑Research, ↑Sato Roams, and her newest at ↑digital genres: ↑biella’s blog. The latter carries a recent entry on Hacker Humor: What is It all about? Much more difficult than I … Continue reading

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