John Postill on media anthropology and internet activism in Malaysia
Is Internet making any significant difference to the governance of an multiethnic middle-income suburb of Kuala Lumpur? Anthropologist John Postill has been on fieldwork there and sent me a working paper about his research Field theory and the political process black box: analysing Internet activism in a Kuala Lumpur suburb.
The suburb is renowned in Malaysian ICT policy circles for its rich diversity of ‘e-community’ initiatives - and it was the vibrant Internet scene that attracted Postill to the locality. In his paper he discusses several approaches within media anthropology:
In recent years Pierre Bourdieu’s field theory has received increased attention from sociologists, anthropologists, media scholars and others (Benson and Neveu 2005). (…) Yet instead of adopting Bourdieu’s field theory wholesale I concentrate on an area of field theory that is underdeveloped in Bourdieu but has an earlier history within political anthropology, namely the field-theoretical study of political processes such as social dramas undertaken by Victor Turner and other Manchester scholars.
On his website, Postill has published lots of related papers.