Local conflicts go online
by ↑Birgit Bräuchler
In contrast to conventional (mass)media the so called ‘new media’—among them the most prominent Internet—stand out due to criteria like interaction, multimediality, transcending location, and networking. Because of the named criteria the Internet is able to add a global dimension to local conflicts. This is exemplified by a case study on the Moluccan conflict, which took place from 1999 to 2002 in Eastern Indonesia—mainly between Christians and Muslims. It will be shown how local actors expanded the conflict into the Internet, and which strategies they put to use. During this conflict the Internet became an instrument, even a weapon encompassing a repertoire of means going far beyond those contemporarily in the focus, like e.g. cyberwars or flamewars. Questions of identity and differentiation seem to be as important as community building. But the presentation will not stop at proofing that with the Internet a new era of representing and carrying out conflicts has started. It will be made clear, that the Internet as tool and as field is a challenge for sociocultural anthropology. Established methods of research and theoretical concepts like identity, community, and conflict possibly are pivotal contributions to the social sciences’ research on the Internet—on the other hand those concepts have to be transformed and adapted accordingly.
translation of the ↑official German abstract by zeph—put the blame on me
↑Birgit Bräuchler’s dissertation “Cyberidentities at War: Der Molukkenkonflikt im Internet” (↵Bräuchler 2005) has just been published.
↑Nils Zurawski, giving a ↵presentation within the cyberanthropology panel as well, has written a ↑rave review [.pdf | 18KB] on it.