Interview with Michael Wesch: How collaborative technologies change scholarship

(via del.icio.us) After his video about collaborative tools on the web (like blogs, wikis etc), Michael Wesch has become the most talked about anthropologist on the internet. In an interview with John Battelle's Searchblog, Wesch explains his interest in what geeks call web 2.0:

For me, cultural anthropology is a continuous exercise in expanding my mind and my empathy, building primarily from one simple principle: everything is connected.


For me, the ultimate promise of digital technology is that it might enable us to truly see one another once again and all the ways we are interconnected. It might help us create a truly global view that can spark the kind of empathy we need to create a better world for all of humankind.

He made his first website in 1998 and saw "a tremendous potential for transforming the way we present our research". Since then, he tells us, he has had a passion for exploring the latest technologies and how they an be used to communicate ideas in more effective ways.

Farther down in the comment field he explains:

The radically collaborative technologies emerging on the Web create the possibility for doing scholarship in the mode of conversation rather than argument, or to transform the argument as war metaphor into something that suggests collaboration rather than combat.

Personally, I prefer the metaphor of the dance and that we are all here in this webscape dancing and playing around with ideas. The best dancers are those that find a way to “lose themselves” in the music – pushing the limits of the dance without fear of tripping or falling because they know that it is all part of the dance.

>> read the whole interview on John Battelle's Searchblog

>> watch the video

As said, his video was widely debated, for anthropological comments see among others: mike wesch rocks the video essay (Savage Minds), Mike Wesch's Web 2.0 video makes waves, expands our understanding of this digital phenomenon (Anthropology.net), Anthropologists on Web 2.0 (TechnoTaste) and Internet 6 or Web 2.0: Video Edition (Disparate, Alexandre Enkerli)

His video is part of his work at the Digital Ethnography working group at Kansas State University.

Last year, Wesch was guestblogger at Savage Minds and blogged about new teaching methods.


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