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CUSAS Talk: Professor Daniel Miller

When Apr 26, 2016
from 05:00 PM to 06:30 PM
Where Seminar Room, Social Anthropology
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Professor Daniel Miller (UCL)

Why we post - the comparative anthropology of social media

This talk reports on research by nine anthropologists who each simultaneously carried out a 15 month ethnography on the use and consequences of social media in fieldsites ranging from the Syria-Turkey border, an IT complex in south India to both a factory and a rural town in China, a squatters settlement in Brazil, a mining town in Chile, an English village and small towns in south Italy and Trinidad.

The focus will be on two issues: our definition of social media as `scalable sociality’, in contrast to prior media with its duality of the private and the public, and secondly the impact of a shift to visual communication. These have consequences for a broad range of issues such as enhanced conservatism, and both enhanced and reduced individualism, inequality and privacy. The paper will briefly discuss our theoretical structures that underlie this project such as the `theory of attainment’, and `polymedia’. Finally, a mention will be made of the dissemination of the research results through eleven Open Access volumes and multilingual popular media such as YouTube, a MOOC and a website, and the potential this represents for turning global research into global education.

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