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Ethnographic Approaches to Digital Media

TitleEthnographic Approaches to Digital Media
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2010
AuthorsColeman, EG
JournalAnnual Review of Anthropology
Keywordscell phone, Communication, computers, Ethnography

his review surveys and divides the ethnographic corpus on digital me
dia into three broad but overlapping categories: the cultural politics
of digital media, the vernacular cultures of digital media, and the pro
saics of digital media. Engaging these three categories of scholarship
on digital media, I consider how ethnographers are exploring the com
plex relationships between the local practices and global implications
of digital media, their materiality and politics, and their banal, as well
as profound, presence in cultural life and modes of communication. I
consider the way these media have become central to the articulation
of cherished beliefs, ritual practices, and modes of being in the world;
the fact that digital media culturally matters is undeniable but showing
how, where, and why it matters is necessary to push against peculiarly
arrow presumptions about the universality of digital experience.