holy men in tights

a superheroes conference At my institute there once was an anthropological project on superhero-comics and the like in the making, but never took off—I will dig up the material from the past and prey on it. Now a conference on the ↵new gods will take place down under: Superheroes and supervillains—whether human or god, born or created, product of nature or creature of science—they have existed as cultural icons for centuries. Why have they endured? How have they transformed over the decades? What is their cultural or mythic function? Where does the hero end and the superhero begin? This interdisciplinary … Continue reading

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stelarc

… completely unfinished thoughts—anyway, here we go: When the concept of ‘structure’ suddenly burst into anthropology and replaced ‘pattern’, ↑Alfred Kroeber (1876-1960) derogatory commented that this was merely an interchanging of words—old wine in new bottles. He was wrong, because it meant more. Namely a change of perspectives in anthropology. Same is true for ‘ethnic’ and ‘ethnicity’ replacing ‘tribe’ and ‘culture’ in the mid-1970s. (↵Cohen 1978: 379-380, 384-385) In other words: This vocabulary is a portal to the understanding of the history, or even the culture of anthropology itself. In 1994 anthropologist ↑Arturo Escobar stigmatised words like ‘cyberspace’ as misnomers—he … 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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ethnicity online

Having read on ‘quasi kinship’ (Brown 1989), on the forming of transnational communities on ethnical basis (Glick Schiller, Basch & Szanton Blanc 1995) and the problem of ethnicity in anthropology (Cohen 1978) led me to the question: what about the common myth of origin within the MP-modding community? What was the primordial mythical time? Some esotericism: MP-gamespace is the primordial time, which can always be accessed, is potentially omnipresent. BROWN, DAVID. 1989. Ethnic revival: Perspectives on State and Society. Third World Quarterly 11(4)1-17. COHEN, RONALD. 1978. Ethnicity: Problem and focus in anthropology. Annual Review of Anthropology 7:379-403. GLICK SCHILLER, NINA, … Continue reading

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hypermedia ethnography

Note to me: Checking your own referrer-log ain’t just a bonfire of vanity, but sometimes indeed proofs to be useful. Anthropology student ↑Andrea Handl of Vienna urges me in her ↑blog entry to have a look on the dissertation by Johann Stockinger. Then some soul was good natured enough to click the link to xirdalium Andrea had inserted and presto—I found it in my logs. That’s one of the ways the blogosphere works, I guess. Here’s what I am urged to read: ↑STOCKINGER, JOHANN. 2004. Ethnologische Wissensrepräsentation mittels XML. Univ.-Diss. Wien. Unfortunately it seems not to be published yet. Mr. … Continue reading

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balineros

The speeding angels of Línea 5 Another instance of culturally appropriating the automobile, going well with ↵bososoku, ↵zelda vans, and ↵bedford’s metamorphosis. Good-looking ↑Joanna Michna, who graduated in anthropology together with me here in Munich, has made a great ethnological documentary movie on Colombia’s balineros, called ‘The speeding angels of Línea 5’. I would translate ‘balinero’ as ‘Of the ball bearings’, or less literally: ‘Dances with trucks’. For everybody capable of receiving German television’s infamous ‘third channels’, her film is rebroadcasted—D’oh!—was rebroadcasted yesterday night. Sorry. But! WDR will rebroadcast it again on Thursday 14 April 2005, 08:45-09:30 AM local, that … Continue reading

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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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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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