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03.08.05: The blog has moved to www.antropologi.info/blog/anthropology/, and several broken links have been corrected

Here are the most recent posts on the new blog location:

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Wednesday, May 18, 2005, 00:14

More and more blogging anthropologists - but the digital divide persists

Savage Mind - the new anthropology group blog is big news and is being discussed in many blogs (interesting to see how fast the news is spread). Recently I mentioned several new anthro-blogs - Kerim Friedman has discovered even more, for example The Old Revolution by "tak", a cultural anthropologist and New Yorker and a Tokyoite who has compiled a list of Anthropology and Japan blogs - even more to explore.

I began to work with this blog (which also includes a kind of Norwegian anthropology journal), because I missed anthropological content on the web. Much has changed since then. But nevertheless, my impression is that Internet is still a quite new medium for many anthropologists - at leasts in Norway. People here do read the national and regional newspapers online, send mails and transfer money. But none of my friends and people I know at the University know what a blog is, let alone RSS. Only a few have heard about Wikipedia. They're not familiar with the gift economy principles on the Internet either (I heard of anthropologists who don't publish online because they don't want their ideas to be "stolen" (!) before they can elaborate them in a traditional paper-journal.

Those people (the majority) don't participate in discussions. They are the unknown passive readers. It's quite striking: All the (few) comments to entries in my Norwegian blog are made by people who already have a website or an own blog.

I think here we see another type of a digital divide - between those who know how to use the internet actively (or are interested in it) and those who don't.

UPDATE: See also the post by Alexander Knorr on xirdalim on academic blogging and its difficulties: "What struck us most was the fact that the vast majority of our institute's anthropology-students (and we have 1200+ !) never made good use of the ethno::log >> continue"


Judd Antin, Wednesday, May 18, 2005, 08:35

I'm particularly interested in the gift economy issue you mentioned. I enjoyed Alireza Doostdar's recent article "The Vulgar Spirit of Blogging" (American Anthropologist, Dec. 2004) not least because it describes some of the ways that bloggers exchange links, trackbacks, and comments as a way of developing social networks and expanding blog readership.


lorenz, Wednesday, May 18, 2005, 14:31

Exactly, that's what I had in mind. Principles of gift economies and culture of sharing and cooperation are much more common online than in the offline. The bearing principles of offline-life, especially of the "New economy" is competition and accumulation. On the Internet you share ideas, exchange texts and photos, collaborate in blogs and projects like Wikipedia and free software like Wordpress and much more. You earn respect and built networks by giving and not by accumulating.

There are many articles on the internet gift economy, among others these huge collection of papers http://opensource.mit.edu/online_papers.php


Eduardo Navas: The Blogger as Producer
He reviews "The Hi-Tech Gift Economy" by Richard Barbrook
www.firstmonday.org/issues/issue3_12/barbrook/ who has also written "Giving is Receiving"

ira nayman: the gift of generalized exchange

Eric Raymond: The Hacker Milieu as Gift Culture

Open source movement is like things anthropologists have studied for a long time

Open Source Anthropology : Are anthropologists serious about sharing knowledge?


tak, Thursday, May 19, 2005, 02:12

Lorenz, thanks for mentioning my blog! I am still a neophyte intiate among elders well-versed in the rules of the rite. I am currently planning a more elaborate blog (moving off of blogspot for one), so I'd like to keep you posted once I do.

And thanks for all these great links on issues of exchange as it relates to blogging. Judd, too, for that citation in the American Anthropologist. I'd like to read them when I have time.

I have a request: what about putting these links up as a post? They seem much too interesting to be tucked away in a comment section. Unless if you have already posted them elsewhere...in that case, could you direct me to it? Thanks.


lorenz, Thursday, May 19, 2005, 13:07

Hi tak, good idea, putting the links into a post, I'll do it later tonight. Originally, I collected the links for an exam in economic anthropology some years ago - some of them are on my older webpage in German http://www.geocities.com/iglu01/ethno/wirtschaft1.html but I'll have to update them, though.

By the way, I'll visit the Japan cultural week here in Oslo http://www.no.emb-japan.go.jp/ will be interesting to see how the official Japan represents / wants us to know about Japanese culture


lorenz, Friday, May 20, 2005, 01:00

It's getting late again... I'll write the post tomorrow on gift economies morning

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