Who cares about #Selfies? It’s the #Otherie, stupid!

Just imagine your phone rings. One sentence. Then the person hangs up on you. The tragedy starts. Just a few minutes later someone – or better: something – knocks on your house. Not on your door, on your house! It`s a small rocket hitting the top of your home. No explosion. Not yet. ROOF KNOCKING. From now on you have about two minutes to get the f… out of here. 

Or, as this video from Gaza shows, maybe only 35 SECONDS. BOOM.

When you look at this from a social anthropological perspective, it also tells you a lot about power. People take #Selfies, but armies and states in war rely on #Otheries: the one-dimensional focus on the Other, as a target, as an object of war. Here`s a fieldnote from Andreas Hackl on Othering in the current Israeli military operation in Gaza: http://transformations-blog.com/who-cares-about-selfies-its-the-otherie-stupid/.

Not #Selfies, but #Otheries.

„It is this perspective from far outside the reality on the ground, from above the sky, looking only through a one-dimensional frame with a cross-hair in the middle, which inspired me to introduce a new mechanism in our increasingly self-righteous world: not the #Selfie, but the #Otherie.“ (Andreas Hackl)

Great read!

Should Auschwitz be a site for a „selfie“? It already is!!

I just read an interesting, yet also disturbing piece at the „New Yorker“. A quote from there:

The Instagram era has now brought us the selfie in a concentration camp. Or, as the phenomenon was identified in the title of a new Israeli Facebook page (translated here loosely), With My Besties in Auschwitz. The page culled from real-life photos—most of them also taken down recently—that had been posted on social-media sites by Israeli kids on school trips to Poland.“ (from http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/culture/2014/06/should-auschwitz-be-a-site-for-selfies.html).

My immediate question was: What are WE – being social anthropologists – to do with these new social media phenomena?

When I take a picture, let`s say a „selfie“, and put it on my personal Facebook page, or share it in a FB group: whose picture is this (selfie)? Am I still able to control my images today? How much privacy does there exist in a socially media(ted) world? 

It reminded me on the keynote theme from Nishant Shah, as well as on the post-privacy lecture from Carsten Ochs last year. If anyone wanted to pick up on such arguments —  contributing an analysis for our blog http://transformations-blog.com/  — feel encouraged to share your insights, and/or forward this call to whoever you think might be interested, and qualified to do this.

@Carsten Ochs: Of course, we`d love to read something from you if you were interested! 🙂

And just to make it clear, This „call for analysis“ is not about moralizing at all — of course, from a personal point of view I find these things disgusting — , it is rather about a changing image culture, and how this change affects other things such as (in this example) the „culture of memories“. Excited to read from you…


Computational Anthropology???

Supposedly, there is a new science called „computational anthropology“: http://www.technologyreview.com/view/528216/the-emerging-science-of-computational-anthropology/. But what does it tell us about the cultural meanings and practices of people? How is it critical? How is it context driven? Let`s make social anthropology out of it, and look at the power of algorithms instead! We urgently need this perspective.

Anyone who might be interested to organize a panel on this one (let`s say „medium-term style“) feel free to get in touch with me.

Going public?

Dear fellow social anthropologists,
cultural anthropologists,
European ethnographers
or however you might call yourself,

„TRANSFORMATIONS – A new voice on culture, politics, and change“ takes the idea of „an engaging anthropology“ seriously by adding our anthropological voice to public discourse. We, five post graduate social anthropologists, started this project with one simple question: Why are we doing research? We belief that our very ethnographic perspective has quite a lot to offer (critical potential, deep analysis, etc.). But in order to be heard, we need to write in a way that goes beyond the classical academic jargon. The idea of our blog is to translate our social anthropological research (or parts of this research) into a language that will be read and understood not only by our fellow colleagues. If we don`t do this translation work, economists and political scientists will (and are doing so right now).

How does your researched theme, field or phenomenon change our societies, and what might be its political, social, economic and cultural consequences when we look at it from a social anthropological point of view? We are pretty sure all of you have quite a lot to say!

…if you do like the idea of the blog,
…if you think that taking a stand within public discourse is a value for itself,
…if you would like to publish in a shorter, more open and creative way than a scientific article allows you to do,

…get in touch with us. This is our call for contributions!

TRANSFORMATIONS – A new voice on culture, politics, and change: http://transformations-blog.com/.

Email: contact.transformations@gmail.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/engaginganthropology 
Twitter: https://twitter.com/TheFieldnote

And feel free to spread the word to your colleagues, docs, post-docs and students as well.

Kind regards,
The transformations-blog.com Team
(Andreas, Angela, Daniel, Miriam and Seraina)

CfP: Graduiertenkonferenz: Medialisierung sozialer Konflikte – New Deadline!

Liebe Kolleg_innen,

an der Universität Gießen findet vom 3-5. Dezember 2014 eine interdisziplinäre Konferenz zur „Medialisierung sozialer Konflikte“ statt. Neben der guten Gelegenheit dieses Thema im Rahmen eigener Präsentationen (Vorträge/Poster)  von einer kulturanthropologischen Perspektive aufzuschlüsseln, bietet sich über zahlreiche Keynotes auch die Chance mit einigen prominenten Wissenschaftler_innen in Kontakt zu kommen.

Keynotes von:

  • Prof. Dr. Karin Knorr Cetina (Universität Konstanz und Chicago)
  • Prof. Dr. Hans-Jürgen Bucher (Universität Trier)
  • Prof. Dr. Manfred Faßler (Universität Frankfurt)
  • Prof. Dr. Kurt Imhof (Universität Zürich)
  • Prof. Dr. Rainer Winter (Universität Klagenfurt)

neue Deadline ist der 1. August 2014

Weitere Informationen zum Call: http://www.uni-giessen.de/cms/ggs-gradkonferenz2014

Call for Papers „Networked Urban Mobilities“

Dear colleagues,

The hyper_mobility of the modern world has challenged our notion of a field once again, raising important methodological questions. Ethnogr@phers have to be multi-sited and virtual-spaced at the same time. But how can we do this?

We invite proposals for a panel that will focus on the online/offline difficulties posed upon current anthropological methodology. The panel will take place at the „Networked Urban Mobilities“ Conference in Copenhagen (5-7th of November 2014).

For further information: http://transformations-blog.com/cfp-doing-ethnogrphy-in-hyper_mobile-fields-methodological-challenges/.

We look forward to receiving your proposals!

Daniel Kunzelmann, Emma Hill and Seraina Müller
(Panel Organisers, Transformations Network)


Hier ein kurzer Hinweis auf einen Podcast von Fiona Krakenbürger, Studentin am Institut für Europäische Ethnologie in Berlin und Mitglied der dgv-Kommission für Digitalisierung im Alltag. Sie beschäftigt sich sowohl privat als auch im Studium mit Themen rund um Computertechnologien, Netzkulturen und Digitalisierung und produziert seit Ende letzten Jahres einen Podcast, in dem sie sich mit wechselnden Experten und Expertinnen über Computerthemen unterhält und ihnen Fragen stellt, um deren Wissen auf ein verständlichen und AnfängerInnen-freundliches Niveau herunterzubrechen. Der Podcast ist Teil ihres Engagements als Netzaktivistin.
In der letzten Folge hat sie Tim Pritlove die Frage gestellt „Was ist eigentlich digital“? Das Wort „digital“ ist allgegenwärtig, auch unsere Kommission hat das Wort im Namen. Aber was bedeutet das überhaupt – „digital“? Antworten darauf gibt’s in der dritten Folge des „N00bcore-Podcasts“.


Zwei kulturanthropologische/europäisch-ethnologische Blogs zu Netzkulturen

falls es jemand noch nicht kennt, in letzter Zeit sind zwei sehr lesenswerte Blogs aus Seminaren an den Standorten Hamburg (geleitet von Christine Bischoff) und Berlin (geleitet von Fiona Krakenbürger und Jan Schnorrenberg) hervorgegangen:



Darin finden sich sehr lesenswerte Beiträge von Studierenden zu vielfältigen Themen rund um Digitalisierungsprozesse im Alltag. Schaut mal rein.