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Nastiness Diagnosis. Anthropology. Religion. Gender. Justice. A Personal Notepad For the General Public.

The point of Media Anthropology

Excerpt from John Postill’s article What’s the point of media anthropology.

Faced with the cognitive contradictions of seeking to represent the divinities through figurative art, religious leaders in Israel, early Christianity, Islam or Protestantism stressed the need to relyexclusively on the written word of God (Goody 1997: 53). An engagement with such longue duree studies of media congeries can provide media anthropologists with a broad comparative canvass against which to set their own micro-historical accounts.

Jack Goody argues that ‘[a] wariness about re-presentation that, by definition, is not ‘the real thing’, is one element in the worldwidehistory of culture’ (1997: 152).

Mark A. Peterson (2003: 3) has suggested that media anthropology has three maincontributions to make:

  1. thick ethnographies, 深描互動
  2. a decentred West and 去中心的西方或非西方
  3. alternative theories. 社會文化脈絡 (「非暴力」)
Peterson, M. A. 2003. Anthropology and mass communication. Media and myth in the new millennium. New York and Oxford: Berghahn Books

First, in contrast to other media scholars, media anthropologists conduct relatively extended, open-ended fieldwork in which media artefacts and practices are but one partof the social worlds under study. Second, media anthropologists are as likely to work inremotecornersoftheglobalSouthastheyareinmetropolitanareasofEuropeorNorthAmerica. This wide geographical scope allows them to broaden the media researchagenda from its traditional North Atlantic heartland. Third, media anthropologists bring to the study of media a long disciplinary history of grappling with sociocultural complexity through theories of exchange, social formations and cultural forms. Thistheoretical expertise, argues Peterson, can help the field to finally leave behind thesimple models of communication that dominated its earlier history.

4. history

Ingold (2008: 74, 78) understands history as the continuous emergence of social-life processes,rejecting with Kroeber and Evans-Pritchard any notion of history as ‘abstract’ chronological time. (他有點誤解這裡的意思,因為對抗抽象時間,可以透過不同的時間感描述來完成,與所謂的編年史並不衝突)

Ingold, T. 2008. ‘Anthropology is not ethnography’,
Proceedings of the British Academy 154: 69–92
( Accessed June 2009
  1. 9/11 in America (Rothenbuhler 2005),
    Rothenbuhler, E. 2005. Ground Zero, the firemen, and the symbolics of touch on 9/11 and after, in E.Rothenbuhler and M. Coman (eds.),
    Media anthropology. London: Sage.
  2. People Power II inthe Philippines (Rafael 2003)
    Rafael, V. 2003. ‘The cell phone and the crowd: messianic politics in the contemporary Philippines’,
    Public Culture 15: 399–425.
  3. the assassination of Theo van Gogh in the Netherlands(Eyerman 2008)
    Eyerman, R. 2008. The assassination of Theo van Gogh: from social drama to cultural trauma
    . Durham:Duke University Press.
Horst, H. and D. Miller 2006.
The cell phone: an anthropology of communication . New York: Berg.

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This entry was posted on November 5, 2014 by in 【Medicine & STS】 and tagged , .
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