Mizuku Ito has published a new text, a keynote speech she gave at “Digital Generations: Children, Young People and New Media”. Ito is involved in the new research project on "Digital Kids".
From her introduction:
"I've been trying to develop ways of studying, from an ethnographic perspective, processes that are more commonly pursued from a macro sociological perspective, such as the relationships between production, distribution, marketing and consumption. The work I'll be describing for you today is based on several years of fieldwork in Tokyo, focused on the period between 1999 and 2001."
"Rather than see centralized and highly capitalized sites as the sole sites of cultural production, I have been looking at the activity of children and young adults as sites of not only consumptive activity -- that is, buying, watching, and reading centrally produced media -- but also productive activity – not only reinterpreting these texts, but actually reshaping and recreating related media content and knowledge and selling and trading those locally created products."
From her conclusion:
"I would suggest that media mixes such as Pokemon and
Yugioh are tied to a changing politics of childhood. I think part of the appeal of these media mixes for children and young adults is that it explicitly recognizes entrepreneurism and connoisseurship in children's culture, traits that, by some cultural standards, are not considered appropriate for children. In part, these media mixes are becoming ambassadors for a Japanese vision of childhood internationally."
Jill Walker (University of Bergen, Norway) reports from a seminar I've missed to attend:
Lars Risan is the first speaker at the network seminar I’m at in Oslo. Don’t you love the idea of code as sacrament? Lars is an anthropologist, and he starts his talk by saying that actually, what we see in the open source movement is a lot like things anthropologists have studied for a long time. >> continue
A University of California, Berkeley, professor is spearheading a team just awarded $3.3 million to study "digital kids." The study will document how youth from ages 10 to 20 are using new digital media to create and exchange knowledge, assess how these phenomena affect learning, and encourage use of its conclusions for the improvement of schools.
Principal investigators include anthropologist Mizuko Ito, who has studied youths' use of digital media in the United States and Japan.
Half of the ethnographic study's research sites will be online and include the use of blogs, new online play sites such as Neopets and online games. The other half will include sites like libraries, community centers, game centers and after-school programs that have digital media. >> continue
UPDATE: Judd Antin (University of California Berkeley!) has more information. He writes - among others: "There is practically no research on how youth in the United States use, perceive, and value ICTs. It’s a gigantic gap. We aim to fill it. (..) Educational technology has been stagnant since about 1990. There have been practically no new developments in teaching software. Through our study we hope to provide the ammunition to develop educational software that works, and which capitalizes on the new, digital, networked environment in which many kids are growing up. >> continue
He also points to the research project's homepage
Anthropologist Kerim Friedman, Keywords
Last year, when I was offered the opportunity to teach a course on anthropology and photography at Haverford College, I immediately knew I wanted to do something with Flickr. I have to admit that it was exhausting correcting papers with dozens of hyperlinks to photos on flickr. But it was also fun. I especially enjoyed seeing the various ways students used Flickr’s tags to come up with interesting paper topics. >> continue
Alexander Knorr, Xirdalium
Oftentimes there is a confusion about what anthropological 'fieldwork' actually is. One aim of my project is to transpose anthropology's rich and powerful methodology to the terra nova online: thick participation plus its weaknesses compensated by other methods like the ethnographic interview.
As Damien Stolarz has put it, Shapiro provides us with a "Simple hack using Skype as an audio interviewing and archive tool. Instead of needing phone interview recording hardware (which you might not have) you can use computer tools (which you have in abundance)." This contains tremendous possibilities for every trustworthy cyberanthropologist. >> continue
David Zeitlyn, University of Kent at Canterbury
Building on Eric Raymond’s work this article discusses the motivation and rewards that lead some software engineers to participate in the open source movement. It is suggested that software engineers in the open source movement may have sub-groupings which parallel kinship groups such as lineages. Within such groups gift giving is not necessarily or directly reciprocated, instead members work according to the ‘axiom of kinship amity’ – direct economic calculation is not appropriate within the group. What Bourdieu calls ‘symbolic capital’ can be used to understand how people work in order to enhance the reputation (of themselves and their group). >> continue (pdf)
(Found in the huge paper collection on Open Source at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology)
The Smithsonian Institution is entering the highly competitive world of music downloads by offering the Smithsonian Folkways collection of ethnic and traditional music in an online music store. Smithsonian Global Sound, the new project, will be formally launched during the Smithsonian Folklife Festival in June.
Global Sound will charge 99 cents a song, which are available in MP3 format. The Smithsonian will pay royalties to the artists, as its recording label has done with records and CDs. The Web site, www.smithsonianglobalsound.org, will allow searches by artist, geographic location, language, cultural group or instrument. All of the Folkways archives, including photographs, can be downloaded onto a screen. >> continue
The office suite was translated from the English version of OpenOffice.org, an open source suite based on Sun Microsystems' StarOffice. This is the first ever release of a word processor in Swahili. The translation effort required translating 18,000 English strings, made up of one or more words, many of which have previously had no direct Swahili equivalent. As part of the translation, the team developed a glossary of 1500 technical words in Swahili. >> continue