the social net

understanding human behavior in cyberspace A new book has been published, which promises to compare the online and the offline worlds, to examine how social behaviour differs in cyberspace, to bring together research never before brought together, and to provide a comprehensive and unique volume on Internet psychology. Only the publisher’s final claim: “Invaluable information for anyone doing businesss on the Internet”, makes me wonder if it is valuable for those doing research online, too. AMICHAI-HAMBURGER, YAIR (ed.). 2005. The social net: Understanding human behavior in cyberspace. Oxford: Oxford University Press. official description: “In cyberspace we see examples of the … Continue reading

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anthropologists on instant messaging

Susan D. Blum of the University of Notre Dame has taught a class in anthropology on Instant Messaging: “Teaching an upper-division undergraduate class on linguistic anthropology, “Doing Things with Words,” at the University of Notre Dame, nothing got my students so excited—not gossip, not gender, maybe accent—as the topic of Instant Messaging. This I learned when my students and I decided to study Instant Messaging as a form of student communication.” Read Susan’s paper on the class: Buzzing and Writing the Day Away Instant Messaging, and the paper which resulted from the class: Instant Messaging: Functions of a New Communicative … Continue reading

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popular ethnographies

Alex Golub just recently wrote: “A week or so ago I asked the question “what are the most popular ethnographies today that give you a sense of where the field is going, or at least what is popular right now?” With the help of a few friends, some commentors, a very large gin and tonic, and the internet, I came up with a few names I had never (or only vaguely) heard of before. Let me know if this makes sense or seems completely off to you.” Check out his Popular Ethnographies weblog-entry to get up-to-date. And don’t miss the … Continue reading

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games without frontiers

games without frontiers by Aki Järvinen accompanies the Ph.D.-thesis he is working on: Games without frontiers: Theories and methods for game studies. Aki Järvinen’s gaming diary, the table of contents (includes thesis background), and chapters in progress of his thesis are online. ” I respect many kinds of approaches to the study of games and players, just as long as the researchers play games themselves.”—Aki Järvinen … Continue reading

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evocational ethnography

Since “Writing Culture” (Clifford & Marcus 1986) there is a lot of discussion about writing ethnographies in literary style(s). In my view the discussions inside visual anthropology deals with quite the same set of problems and issues transponed to the media still photography and moving image. Somehow hypermedia, the computer, and the Internet merge all this together. So every cyber/anthropologist doing work visibly online (like me here) sooner or later has to try to get wiser from writing culture and visual anthropology. Tobias Rees’ paper “Writing culture — Filming Culture” (Rees 1998) comes in handy, in my opinion. [One advantage … Continue reading

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books on top games

Three titles I haven’t laid on hands yet, but definitely will: Half-Life 2: Raising the bar, The making of Doom II, and Masters of Doom: How two guys created an empire and transformed pop culture. When I was a kid I was tremendously thrilled by the Star-Wars movies (and still am today, I confess). This also is the root of a string of associations of mine which culminate in this research-project. With putting Star-Wars related items on sale, George Lucas started what today is well known as ‘merchandising’. I never bought a Skywalker-puppet or the like, but I went lengths … Continue reading

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modders’ breath

AP carries a story on gamemodding with a more than positive conclusion: “Still, Lombardi said, mods like Counter-Strike show that anyone with the skills can make it big in the gaming industry. ‘They are the guys that are going to be making the great games of tomorrow,’ he said. ‘Gaming is still in the frontier days, there’s still a chance for someone to put something together in a garage.’” … Continue reading

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visual jack in

“A half century of artificial-sight research has succeeded. And now this blind man can see,” ↑reports Wired with an impressive, well written story about an american laboratory, which is working with cameras that bring vision directly by cables into the brain of a blind man: From a few steps closer, I see that the wires plug into Patient Alpha’s head like a pair of headphones plug into a stereo. The actual connection is metallic and circular, like a common washer. So seamless is the integration that the skin appears to simply stop being skin and start being steel.     … Continue reading

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