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Digital Anthropology [Paperback]

Heather A. Horst , Daniel Miller

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Book Description

1 Oct 2012
Anthropology has two main tasks: to understand what it is to be human and to examine how humanity is manifested differently in the diversity of culture. These tasks have gained new impetus from the extraordinary rise of the digital. This book brings together several key anthropologists working with digital culture to demonstrate just how productive an anthropological approach to the digital has already become.

Through a range of case studies from Facebook to Second Life to Google Earth, Digital Anthropology explores how human and digital can be defined in relation to one another, from avatars and disability; cultural differences in how we use social networking sites or practise religion; the practical consequences of the digital for politics, museums, design, space and development to new online world and gaming communities. The book also explores the moral universe of the digital, from new anxieties to open-source ideals. Digital Anthropology reveals how only the intense scrutiny of ethnography can overturn assumptions about the impact of digital culture and reveal its profound consequences for everyday life.

Combining the clarity of a textbook with an engaging style which conveys a passion for these new frontiers of enquiry, this book is essential reading for students and scholars of anthropology, media studies, communication studies, cultural studies and sociology.

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More About the Author

Heather A. Horst is a Vice Chancellor's Senior Research Fellow in the School of Media and Communication at RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia, Co-Director of the Digital Ethnography Research Centre and a Research Fellow in the MA Program in Digital Anthropology at University College London. She is currently involved in three collaborative research projects: a study of mobiles, money and mobility in Haiti and the Dominican Republic (with Erin B. Taylor and Espelencia Baptiste, funded by the Institute for Money, Technology and Financial Inclusion); the PACMAS Baseline Study that is exploring the media and communication landscape across 14 countries in the Pacific (with Jo Tacchi, Evangelia Papoutsaki, Verena Thomas and Joys Eggins, funded by ABC International Development) and an Australian Research Council Linkage Grant, "Mobilising Media for Sustainable Outcomes in the Pacific", Jo Tacchi and Domenic Friguglietti.

A sociocultural anthropologist by training, Heather's research focuses upon new media, material culture, and transnational migration. She is the co-author of The Cell Phone: An Anthropology of Communication (Horst and Miller, Berg, 2006), Living and Learning with Digital Media: Findings from the Digital Youth Project (Ito, Horst, et al., 2009, MIT Press), and Hanging Out, Messing Around and Geeking Out: Kids Living and Learning with Digital Media (Ito, et al. 2010, MIT Press). Her most recent book, to be released in October 2012, is an edited volume with Daniel Miller entitled Digital Anthropology. Heather's research has been published in a range of journals, including Social Anthropology, Current Anthropology, Journal of Material Culture, Global Networks, Identities, International Journal of Communication and the Caribbean Review of Gender Studies. She has been a guest editor for special issues of the International Journal of Communication, Journal of Material Culture, International Journal of Cultural Studies, New Media and Society and Home Cultures.

Prior to joining RMIT, Heather held research positions at the Digital Media and Learning Research Hub based at the UC Humanities Research Institute at the University of California, Irvine, the Institute for the Study of Social Change at the University of California, Berkeley, the Annenberg Center for Communication at the University of Southern California, the School of Social Sciences at University of the West Indies, Mona and the Department of Anthropology at University College London. She obtained her PhD in Social Anthropology from the University of London, an MA in Anthropology from University of California, Santa Barbara and a BA in Anthropology from the University of Minnesota.

Contact Details:

Dr. Heather A. Horst
Vice Chancellor's Senior Research Fellow
School of Media and Communication
Design Research Institute
RMIT University, Building 9.4.39
Melbourne, VIC 3001

Twitter: @hahhh
Phone: +(61) (3) 9925 3988

Product Description


'Researchers and teachers alike have long been waiting for this invaluable guide to the tricky terrain of digital anthropology. Demonstrating what anthropology brings to the study of the digital and vice versa, Horst and Miller's book provides a firm launching-off point for new investigations of the remediations, remodulations, and reconfigurations associated with digital media and technology.' --Paul Dourish, Professor of Informatics, University of California, Irvine

'This remarkable volume provides a provocative survey of an emergent territory we are all coming to inhabit. Broad in coverage yet acutely attentive to the particulars, offering multiple perspectives yet elegantly integrative, and epistemologically bracing while deeply anthropological, this is a work of lasting value for experts and non-experts alike.' --Don Brenneis, University of California, Santa Cruz

'Digital Anthropology is a beautifully curated book that reveals the importance of anthropological insight for understanding different aspects of networked society, from the spectacular to the mundane. In this formative book, Horst and Miller call attention to the ways in which digital technologies make visible our humanity.' --Danah Boyd, Senior Researcher at Microsoft Research

About the Author

Heather A. Horst is a Vice Chancellor's Senior Research Fellow in the School of Media and Communication at RMIT University, Australia.

Daniel Miller is Professor of Material Culture at the Department of Anthropology, University College London, UK

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.2 out of 5 stars  4 reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent resource for researchers! 7 Mar 2014
By Marousia - Published on
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Excellent resource for researchers! The analyses are nuanced and contain many thought provoking ideas. The writing style is engaging and accessible.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing Resource! 2 Jan 2014
By John Godwin - Published on
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This is an amazing compilation of work by the leading Anthropologists if the newly emerging field of Digital Anthroplolgy. This covers an extremely expansive view of the field! This is a great resource for teachers and students alike. I can't recommended this highly enough!
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2.0 out of 5 stars Two Stars 22 Aug 2014
By Binghamton U Grad Student - Published on
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Disliked this class!!!!!!!!!! But probably you'll enjoy reading it...
0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Kickstarted my thesis 30 Jan 2014
By Mike - Published on
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if that doesnt mean anything to you DO NOT BUY THIS BOOK because you will not get your money's worth.
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