Online Seminar 1-12 November: Daniel Miller An Extreme Reading of Facebook - Open Anthropology Cooperative 2019-11-03T19:25:59Z http://openanthcoop.ning.com/forum/topics/online-seminar-112-november?feed=yes&xn_auth=no My very first post was my cri… tag:openanthcoop.ning.com,2010-11-13:3404290:Comment:82530 2010-11-13T15:48:14.587Z M Izabel http://openanthcoop.ning.com/profile/MIzabel73 My very first post was my critique on individualism. I quoted Castells' definition of network and criticized it. It is not my habit to quote a theorist/anthropologist without supporting it with my own or someone's' ethnographic experience/data.<br></br> <br></br> Of the three propositions, only the one about God did not convince me. Again, read my posts before engaging me in your argument that seemed to me an attack from an unleashed pit bull. Maybe you are in collusion with someone to silence me or to… My very first post was my critique on individualism. I quoted Castells' definition of network and criticized it. It is not my habit to quote a theorist/anthropologist without supporting it with my own or someone's' ethnographic experience/data.<br/> <br/> Of the three propositions, only the one about God did not convince me. Again, read my posts before engaging me in your argument that seemed to me an attack from an unleashed pit bull. Maybe you are in collusion with someone to silence me or to discredit me. Don't waste your time. I'm not in the academe.<br/> <br/> You said:<br/> <br/> "That Philosophy has nothing to do with Anthropology is on such weak argument in my opinion: Has Anthropology been ever a seperate discipline next to others or wasn't it always an interdisciplinary Science?"<br/> <br/> My response:<br/> <br/> It is not the job of anthropologists to create symbols, signs, meanings, analogies for a culture. Their job is to study those that already exist in the culture and their significations and symbolizations as practiced by the people in that culture. Leave the studying of the dancing angels on the head of a pin to philosophers.<br/> <br/> You said:<br/> <br/> You could also just could look at the names refered in important anthropological works...). Otherwise people could take it personally which would be beneath every level of an academic discussion between Anthropologists.<br/> <br/> My response:<br/> <br/> You did not really read my posts. You would not be saying that if you did. I tried injecting cyberanthropology and cyberecology to widen the scope of the discussion by posting a paper about ecology and metacommunity. Nobody listened but one professor, susanne kuehling. So what if I'm "beneath every level of an academic discussion between Anthropologists?" Hahaha... should I prove myself to you or to them? Gee... Okay... no comment.<br/> <br/> Now you are telling me that I don't read published works. I always refuse to be part of the conventions and I situate my voice in the margins. It's just stuffy and suffocating at the center, you know. If you think you are an anthropologist because you've read Malinowski or Levi-strauss or Benedict or Mead, congratulations that you continue reading them. Aren';t those what first year anthropology majors read in their very first semester? Expand your reading list and quit assuming as if you know me. Where were you when I started here at OAC and rejected western scholarship? I have mellowed down. Can't you see? Dear M Izabel, although the… tag:openanthcoop.ning.com,2010-11-13:3404290:Comment:82523 2010-11-13T13:25:13.048Z Zy http://openanthcoop.ning.com/profile/ViVienBaldauf Dear M Izabel,<br /> <br /> although the seminar is already over, you seem to be really keen on discussing further. It is clear now how everybody should take your “sarcasm”, so no reason to follow this anymore.<br /> <br /> As for your doubts: In Daniels text, there where two other main theses (besides the one about Facebook being an analogy to god, that you seem to have given a lot of weight in your discussion): Kula and the impact on Social Science. Due to the reason that I wasn't keen on participating in this “game… Dear M Izabel,<br /> <br /> although the seminar is already over, you seem to be really keen on discussing further. It is clear now how everybody should take your “sarcasm”, so no reason to follow this anymore.<br /> <br /> As for your doubts: In Daniels text, there where two other main theses (besides the one about Facebook being an analogy to god, that you seem to have given a lot of weight in your discussion): Kula and the impact on Social Science. Due to the reason that I wasn't keen on participating in this “game of thoughts” and the reason that the two other theses could build up another two E-Seminars, I decided to read more between the lines and picked up some statements and conclusions under the other Theses, besides the "god" one. There were actually much more but due to the media and the situation I decided to cut it down. And even now, I just want to explain one apsect I found interesting under the Thesis of the impact on Social Science that was somehow more hidden in Daniels paper. Maybe I should have done better to quote the parts I referred to when writing my first comment. In terms of traceability and understandability this is true! And I should practice to be more precise in where my thoughts come from and go to... So this should be last try here!<br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> Daniel Miller argued that :<br /> <br /> <b>“Research by myself and Don Slater was among the first to show that that while the internet may be hugely important in other ways the evidence for this `reversal’ in macro social change towards individualism was very limited.”</b><br /> <br /> So it seems that Miller and Slater have quite critical positions to the tendency of Social Science Discourse to view people more and more as individuals.<br /> <br /> But then this key passage reveals that this tendency of Individualism still has some truth:<br /> <br /> <b>“Facebook has all the contradictions found in a community. You simply can’t have both closeness and privacy. You can’t have support without claustrophobia. You can’t have such a degree of friendship without the risk of explosive quarrelling. (...) Well if you really do want to have more community and less isolated individualism then that means trading privacy.”</b><br /> <br /> As far as I got out of this part, keeping privacy on Facebook means emphasising Individualism and sharing personal things means emphasising participation in a community. And in Millers view the last is more evident for SNS (taken out of his research in Trinidad). As far as I found out, BOTH is the case on SNS and BOTH can be surveyed and managed much better then in offline life: 1. people who want to retreat from social control by the local community can practice more individualism and diversity of it in SNS and 2. people who have rather weak social ties offline can intensify social relations by sharing on SNS which can also lead to critical “exposure” of a person. (There are also other varieties: People who are quite extrovert and have a big complex (loose and tight) local network can extend or even intensify this in SNS.) So my interest (amongst others) is on how people manage both desires.<br /> <br /> And this is what I meant in my first comment with:<br /> <b><br /> “2. the discourse about the modern society and its structural development (or changing processes) of social relations and communication systems (...) and the SNS as compensative places (...)”</b><br /> <br /> Although Miller can't follow the Individualism tendency in Social Science (as mentioned above) Miller gives an example for the desire of looseness or less intensity of community which, in my opinion, also requires more privacy (and therefore more space for individualism):<br /> <br /> <b>“When you are living in a place like that, the community is incredibly intense and her use of Facebook, however sociable, is a means to give herself some sort of break from that intensity. If people in Santa Ana turn to Facebook as a kind of milder version of community, it is to achieve some sort of distance, because the reality of living within such a close-knit community is simply too intense and invasive.”</b><br /> <br /> This is just one thing I found inspiring in Millers paper. I should have explained my thoughts better and will do when there will be a prosecution of this E-Seminar in any other form!<br /> <br /> Finally, I think that constructive criticism should still always be underlined with some strong arguments (That Philosophy has nothing to do with Anthropology is on such weak argument in my opinion: Has Anthropology been ever a seperate discipline next to others or wasn't it always an interdisciplinary Science? You could also just could look at the names refered in important anthropological works...). Otherwise people could take it personally which would be beneath every level of an academic discussion between Anthropologists. You're correct, Nikos. For va… tag:openanthcoop.ning.com,2010-11-12:3404290:Comment:82482 2010-11-12T21:47:06.442Z M Izabel http://openanthcoop.ning.com/profile/MIzabel73 You're correct, Nikos. For variety, I can also say Facebook is Satan or an angel or a magician. The underlying question: Is such symbolic interpretation science? Well, if we are talking about semiotics the way philosophers do, I will shut up, but it's anthropology. Even in semiotic anthropology, cultural sings, symbols, signification, and symbolization already existing in a culture are studied. If my posts were spirited or somewhat forceful, it was because of the data I have gathered about,… You're correct, Nikos. For variety, I can also say Facebook is Satan or an angel or a magician. The underlying question: Is such symbolic interpretation science? Well, if we are talking about semiotics the way philosophers do, I will shut up, but it's anthropology. Even in semiotic anthropology, cultural sings, symbols, signification, and symbolization already existing in a culture are studied. If my posts were spirited or somewhat forceful, it was because of the data I have gathered about, from, and on Facebook that I wish to explore further in the future. I think it's my last post before I end up an antagonist in this successful and wonderful seminar. Congratulations, Keith! "Although there have been a l… tag:openanthcoop.ning.com,2010-11-12:3404290:Comment:82461 2010-11-12T20:12:54.957Z M Izabel http://openanthcoop.ning.com/profile/MIzabel73 "Although there have been a lot of voices weaving a quite wild jungle of criticism I hope you can still filter some constructive arguments in respect to your paper."<br></br> <br></br> I doubt if you've read or understood the posted responses or even the paper of Danny. In case you don't know, I was the one who rejected the insertion of "God" or anything about it in relation to Facebook. It was not I who said Facebook was God or oracle, another symbolization.<br></br> <br></br> My sarcastic philosophizing… "Although there have been a lot of voices weaving a quite wild jungle of criticism I hope you can still filter some constructive arguments in respect to your paper."<br/> <br/> I doubt if you've read or understood the posted responses or even the paper of Danny. In case you don't know, I was the one who rejected the insertion of "God" or anything about it in relation to Facebook. It was not I who said Facebook was God or oracle, another symbolization.<br/> <br/> My sarcastic philosophizing demonstrates that it's possible to be wild with our imaginations if we are not doing anthropology. As far as I know. OAC is about anthropology, the study of man not his immortalization. Daniel Miller said:Finally… tag:openanthcoop.ning.com,2010-11-12:3404290:Comment:82429 2010-11-12T15:40:19.138Z Zy http://openanthcoop.ning.com/profile/ViVienBaldauf <br></br> <br></br> <cite>Daniel Miller said:</cite><blockquote cite="http://openanthcoop.ning.com/forum/topics/online-seminar-112-november?commentId=3404290%3AComment%3A82418&amp;xg_source=msg_com_forum#3404290Comment82414"><div>Finally there is the germ of a group establishing on Facebook itself called `the anthropology of social networks’ with a few more members we could become a place where people post about anyone who is writing on this topic or where they are publishing, so for those who see this…</div> </blockquote> <br/> <br/> <cite>Daniel Miller said:</cite><blockquote cite="http://openanthcoop.ning.com/forum/topics/online-seminar-112-november?commentId=3404290%3AComment%3A82418&amp;xg_source=msg_com_forum#3404290Comment82414"><div>Finally there is the germ of a group establishing on Facebook itself called `the anthropology of social networks’ with a few more members we could become a place where people post about anyone who is writing on this topic or where they are publishing, so for those who see this topic as a long term interest I suggest you join this group</div> </blockquote> <br/> Thank you Daniel for providing your paper as a basis of an open discussion. Although there have been a lot of voices weaving a quite wild jungle of criticism I hope you can still filter some constructive arguments in respect to your paper. I just can say it helped me a lot to organise my catalogue of questions and I will consider some of your hypotheses ( mentioned in my first comment) in my research work. Continuing this discussion on Facebook would definitely be a comfortable and easy way to do. But as for me not only thinking positive about FB it would be a little bit like sitting in a house of glass with some stones in hand... So would rather prefer an open source platform that provides some elaborate visibility settings. :) Vi, my "godliness" assertion,… tag:openanthcoop.ning.com,2010-11-12:3404290:Comment:82418 2010-11-12T14:20:13.787Z M Izabel http://openanthcoop.ning.com/profile/MIzabel73 Vi, my "godliness" assertion, I think, is not the realm of anthropology. Check your questions. Don't they sound philosophical? Anyway, I'll respond.<br></br> <br></br> Yes, there are members who are rejected, denied, or have no control over others. Isn't that analogous to Jesus Christ having no control over Hindus or Allah being denied by Christians or Buddha existing only outside the worldview of Muslims?<br></br> <br></br> Your other questions can be answered by you yourself. In philosophy, any answer is… Vi, my "godliness" assertion, I think, is not the realm of anthropology. Check your questions. Don't they sound philosophical? Anyway, I'll respond.<br/> <br/> Yes, there are members who are rejected, denied, or have no control over others. Isn't that analogous to Jesus Christ having no control over Hindus or Allah being denied by Christians or Buddha existing only outside the worldview of Muslims?<br/> <br/> Your other questions can be answered by you yourself. In philosophy, any answer is correct as long as it is reasonable, and yes, logical.<br/> <br/> Thank you, Daniel, for your paper. I hope my being omnivorous means I am open to all theoretical possibilities. If that was what you meant, you have one thing to blame, systems thinking, where I always try to make sense of everything served on the table. Thank you again for making me think. Vi Baldauf said:You are rig… tag:openanthcoop.ning.com,2010-11-12:3404290:Comment:82417 2010-11-12T14:12:51.941Z Keith Hart http://openanthcoop.ning.com/profile/KeithHart <br></br> <br></br> <cite>Vi Baldauf said:</cite><blockquote cite="http://openanthcoop.ning.com/forum/topics/online-seminar-112-november?x=1&amp;id=3404290%3ATopic%3A80788&amp;page=10#3404290Comment82406"><div>You are right Gustaf, communication and interpretation are the most complex and difficult things to handle and manage for humans as social beings. So hope this E-Seminar will be just a starting point of a discussion about “Facebook as an anthropological field”. I would be glad if this will be…</div> </blockquote> <br/> <br/> <cite>Vi Baldauf said:</cite><blockquote cite="http://openanthcoop.ning.com/forum/topics/online-seminar-112-november?x=1&amp;id=3404290%3ATopic%3A80788&amp;page=10#3404290Comment82406"><div>You are right Gustaf, communication and interpretation are the most complex and difficult things to handle and manage for humans as social beings. So hope this E-Seminar will be just a starting point of a discussion about “Facebook as an anthropological field”. I would be glad if this will be somehow extended. I would also help to develop this further. (Maybe in form of a blog or website especially for people who also like to continue discussing theses about Facebook).<br/> <br/> @ Keith Hart, Daniel Miller, John Postill: What do you think about it?</div> </blockquote> <br/> Posted from O Tambo Airport Johannesburg while waiting for an overnight plane home. I could try to convey some of what the ambience is like, the acoustics, the TV a metre from my earhole, the third beer I am consuming, the effect of fierce sunshine in the countryside getting here. You get the picture.<br/> <br/> I think communication is so difficult that it takes a huge amount of goodwill to pretend that thoughts pass from one brain to another in some continuous form. I think that writers never control what readers make of their writing in any medium. Reading is creative or perhaps out of control! I think this has been a hugely successful seminar and I want to go cold turkey on the anthropology of Facebook as from now. Those who want to carry on with it can set up a Group or some other vehicle here, if they want.<br/> <br/> I am looking forward to the next one by David Graeber on 'The moral premises of economic relations'. I hope that some of our contributors to this one will return for that and for the others I have lined up.<br/> <br/> We are exploring the possibility of making an e-book out of this discussion and perhaps that will involve a measure of editorial summary. But I have no particular interest in pushing my line on what it was all really about. We are not Reader's Digest.<br/> <br/> The opportunity exists in this format to go away and do a bit of research then report on it or to report on your research or eventually to do research on this thread.<br/> <br/> I know that some people will come to this thread later and would like to post on it. But my inclination is to close it after the weekend. What we have already is pretty unwieldy, even indigestible. There is little point beyond convenience for it to dribble on. If the conversation continues, let it take other forms. This one will be permanently available here and perhaps elsewhere. I am open to suggestions on these mechanics of organizing the seminar and its aftermath.<br/> <br/> Danny is off somewhere over the weekend and is unlikely to be able or want to post further. So I will take this opportunity to thank him for animating our discussion in such a constructive and amiable way. It may not be as good as this all the time.<br/> <br/> Thanks to to all of you for taking part. I think we can say our medium came of age here. Ok, well I will be off line f… tag:openanthcoop.ning.com,2010-11-12:3404290:Comment:82414 2010-11-12T13:57:34.158Z Daniel Miller http://openanthcoop.ning.com/profile/DanielMiller Ok, well I will be off line from now on so this is my last response. Let me start therefore by thanking Keith very much indeed for facilitating this, which I hope has been a wide ranging, open and very engaged discussion, from which I have learnt a huge amount. I hope people haven’t minded when I have been combative and I welcome the fact that many of you have clear points of disagreement and taken issue with me. I can’t see any other way for academic debate to progress. But I think the final… Ok, well I will be off line from now on so this is my last response. Let me start therefore by thanking Keith very much indeed for facilitating this, which I hope has been a wide ranging, open and very engaged discussion, from which I have learnt a huge amount. I hope people haven’t minded when I have been combative and I welcome the fact that many of you have clear points of disagreement and taken issue with me. I can’t see any other way for academic debate to progress. But I think the final point is Keith’s awe at the sheer scale and speed of the world as represented by something like Facebook and our sheer excitement at the intellectual challenge of staying on board.<br/> <br/> Briefly with respect to other comments. I fully take Vi’s point that for most people this is one group amongst many, though wonder if Facebook which overlaps often with core family and friends maybe more significant and community like than is implied by that. Also that these debates on privacy seem not just about individual security but represent bigger public discourses about modern morality , which is one of the reasons there may be interesting discrepancies between what people say and what they do on this issue. I don’t really go with journalistic comment that suggest people are too stupid or ignorant to protect themselves, after all witnessing helps explain why people might be ambivalent about privacy. I agree there are wider issues of the relationship with technology which comes up in our digital anthropology programme, but I don’t think my paper is of much use in that respect, this needs to be done elsewhere. Gustav notes the very common anecdote about ones info being abused, the trouble is that as an ethnographer I would like to see an instance of this coming from fieldwork before I really believe this is more than part of that public discourse on morality. I think many users follow Gustav in appreciating the opposite which is the sense of control over self-crafting, though aware that much of the result is inadvertent. Izabel is a bit omnivorous for my taste, but I could hardly complain that her image of Mark Z as the goddess Kali is extreme - given my title - in fact I am delighted that we are getting collectively extreme by the end of this discussion. In fact as Vi implies we are moving towards an ending where we all feel that - yes this is an established and important topic and we will all return to writing seriously about it in the future, and we are not complacent enough to think we have done more than scratch the surface, but at this point, after this amount of time, many of us feel like having a laugh and a drink together which seems to me an ideal way to end a virtual seminar.<br/> <br/> Finally there is the germ of a group establishing on Facebook itself called `the anthropology of social networks’ with a few more members we could become a place where people post about anyone who is writing on this topic or where they are publishing, so for those who see this topic as a long term interest I suggest you join this group You are right Gustaf, communi… tag:openanthcoop.ning.com,2010-11-12:3404290:Comment:82406 2010-11-12T12:47:44.495Z Zy http://openanthcoop.ning.com/profile/ViVienBaldauf You are right Gustaf, communication and interpretation are the most complex and difficult things to handle and manage for humans as social beings. It is always a challenge (at least should be seen as such) on how to frame it (Goffman) and how to judge it in terms of reliability.<br></br> <br></br> So what am I able to put in to make my last comment reliable or somehow understandable in a proper way? Maybe I just wanted to underline that sarcasm, irony and cynicism are highly complex communicative codes… You are right Gustaf, communication and interpretation are the most complex and difficult things to handle and manage for humans as social beings. It is always a challenge (at least should be seen as such) on how to frame it (Goffman) and how to judge it in terms of reliability.<br/> <br/> So what am I able to put in to make my last comment reliable or somehow understandable in a proper way? Maybe I just wanted to underline that sarcasm, irony and cynicism are highly complex communicative codes and of cause, for all those, who don't have access to the required specific background knowledge but still dare to interact, will tap in darkness or be caught by the trap. Still, if M Izabel meant it sarcastic, I take it humanly easy! (And perhaps, if you would know me good, you would not have any doubts to believe that.)<br/> <br/> As for addressing efficient communication here, maybe this is the reason why E-Seminars just work out efficiently in smaller restricted groups of people who know each other on a somehow average level. Whereas, open Seminars like this should be seen as chances for others to participate and enrich discussions to get a bigger pool of knowledge and new potentially great ideas hence, every chance is also a potential risk!<br/> As for me being a student with a research interest on SNS, there is hardly anybody on my institute who could help me out with some expertise on research methods or theory about it. So hope this E-Seminar will be just a starting point of a discussion about “Facebook as an anthropological field”. I would be glad if this will be somehow extended. I would also help to develop this further. (Maybe in form of a blog or website especially for people who also like to continue discussing theses about Facebook).<br/> <br/> @ Keith Hart, Daniel Miller, John Postill: What do you think about it? Wow, I thought it might be as… tag:openanthcoop.ning.com,2010-11-12:3404290:Comment:82399 2010-11-12T09:53:02.589Z Zy http://openanthcoop.ning.com/profile/ViVienBaldauf Wow, I thought it might be as ironic as the previous sarcastic comments of her... Hmmm, sarcasm might also be a criterion for exclusion, especially when it is posted in an open public blog but just understandable for people having such insider knowledge. Clear punishment for newbes and latecomers. But never mind, it's my fault - nevertheless amusing. ;D Wow, I thought it might be as ironic as the previous sarcastic comments of her... Hmmm, sarcasm might also be a criterion for exclusion, especially when it is posted in an open public blog but just understandable for people having such insider knowledge. Clear punishment for newbes and latecomers. But never mind, it's my fault - nevertheless amusing. ;D