mana’o

The ↑Mana’o Project is “an experimental open access anthropology repository.” It is just some months old, but there already are items as far back as 1891, including some classics. Of course the frequency of items gets bigger and bigger as you get closer to the present day. Additionally the topics are tell-tale in some respect, too. Below I listed what generated a search according to my current focus of interest. Alas, it would be premature to deduce, that the things “cyber” have conquered whole anthropology, because those working on said topics of course are the first to publish their texts … Continue reading

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chinese gold farms

The New York Times’ David Barboza has written an article on chinese gold farms, called ↑Boring Game? Hire a player which is available online via the International Herald Tribune:  FUZHOU, China One of China’s newest factories operates here in the basement of an old warehouse. Posters of World of Warcraft and Magic Land hang above a corps of young people with drowsy eyes glued to their computer screens, pounding away at their keyboards in the latest hustle for money. The people working at this clandestine locale are called “gold farmers.” Every day, in 12-hour shifts, they kill monsters and harvest … Continue reading

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synthetic worlds

↑Edward Castronova, who rose to fame with his ↑Virtual worlds: A first hand account of market and society on the cyberian frontier (↵Castronova 2001—see also ↵Castronova 2003 and ↑terra nova) has written his first full-length monograph [↑Overview]:  ↑CASTRONOVA, EDWARD. 2005. Synthetic worlds: the business and culture of online games. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. via entry at digital genres … Continue reading

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keyboard

Since already several years the casemod-movement [that is the hardware-modification scene] has powerfully whiplashed back into the hardware-manufacturing industry. The feedback out of the rows of the ‘end-users’ stemming from their creativity in the appropriation of computer hardware gave birth to a whole new branch of hardware-/parts-, and peripherals-producers and retailers. Again the main thrust to this development is the computergames-market. The man-machine interfaces obviously are crucial to gaming, so little wonder that new designs, or even innovations pop up in said sector. Interestingly enough the industry’s strategy is not to invent completely new kinds of input-devices, but to modify … Continue reading

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military training geeks

Two new publications from the extreme ends of the spectrum, but both touching my topic. Now guess which one of the two is closer to my mind and heart. KELTY, CHRISTOPHER M. 2005. Geeks, Social Imaginaries, and Recursive Publics. Cultural Anthropology 20(2):185-214. official abstract: This article investigates the social, technical, and legal affiliations among “geeks” (hackers, lawyers, activists, and IT entrepreneurs) on the Internet. The mode of association specific to this group is that of a “recursive public sphere” constituted by a shared imaginary of the technical and legal conditions of possibility for their own association. On the basis of … 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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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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lord vader visits troops

Galactic News Service reports: “TWILIGHT CITADEL, Tatooine (Valcyn) – Emperor Palpatine’s supreme military commander, Lord Darth Vader, recently made a surprise inspection tour of an Imperial military stronghold here. [...]“ The staff at Sony Online Entertainment (SOE) had noticed, that inside the gameworld of their MMORPG “Star Wars Galaxies” (SWG) a group of players (forming the “203rd Tatooine Expeditionary Stormtrooper Legion”) had their troops very well organized and trained for quite some time. So SOE decided to stage an “ingame-live-event” and made Darth Vader, Dark Lord of the Sith, visit the troops. A global celebrity of a mythical character, well … Continue reading

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videogamestudies

cultural difference on intercultural persistent state worlds Alan Meades, a Masters-degree (Electronic Arts) student at Middlesex University (UK) does post-graduate research in cyberanthropology: “This study aims to verify if players originating from geographically and culturally different backgrounds exhibit different game preferences, and therefore behaviour within Massively Multiplayer Online games. This study focuses specifically on Square-Enix’s Final Fantasy XI because of the design of the server infrastructure, and the resultant feature that each server is shared with people from many cultures and nations. [...]“ On his website Alan hosts an according online-survey, both in English and Japanese language! When I hit … Continue reading

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