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New book: Localizing the Internet (Postill 2011)

December 18, 2010

LOCALIZING THE INTERNET An Anthropological Account John Postill August 2011, ca 152 pages, ca 15 ills, bibliog., index ISBN 978-0-85745-197-2 Hardback ca $40.00/£23.00 E-ISBN 978-0-85745-198-9 “This is a very strong contribution to media anthropology [that] will quickly stimulate a spate of innovative research on the Internet because it provides conceptual tools that open new avenues of study.  The key idea, “the field of residential affairs,” is very rich, and I particularly like the way Postill connects this new area of anthropology (internet studies) to the classic works of the Manchester School.Andrew Arno, University of Hawai’i “…a very interesting case study of the intersection of online activities and offline contexts in relation to political organization and community activism in suburban Malaysia.” Leighton C. Peterson, Miami University At a critical time of democratic reform across many parts of Southeast Asia, Subang Jaya is regarded as Malaysia’s electronic governance laboratory. The focus of the study is Subang Jaya’s field of residential affairs, a digitally mediated social field in which residents, civil servants, politicians, online journalists and other social agents struggle over how the locality is to be governed at the dawn of the “Information Era.” Drawing on the field theories of both Pierre Bourdieu and the Manchester School of political anthropology, this study challenges the unquestioned predominance of “network” and “community” as the two key sociation concepts in contemporary Internet studies. The analysis extends field theory in four new directions, namely the complex articulations between personal networking and social fields, the uneven diffusion and circulation of new field technologies and contents, intra- and inter-field political crises, and the emergence of new forms of residential sociality. John Postill is Senior Lecturer in Media at Sheffield Hallam University and a Fellow of the Digital Anthropology Programme, University College London (UCL). He holds a PhD in anthropology from UCL and is the author of Media and Nation Building (Berghahn 2006), based on fieldwork among the Iban of Borneo, and co-editor of Theorising Media and Practice (Berghahn 2010). He has published in journals such as Social Anthropology, New Media and Society and Time and Society, and is currently researching social media and activism in Barcelona (Spain) as well as the socio-economic implications of mobile phone adoption in Latin America. Volume 5 of Anthropology of Media SUBJECTS: Anthropology, Film & Media AREA: Southeast Asia

9 Comments leave one →
  1. Mark Allen Peterson permalink
    January 4, 2011 8:29 pm

    I’m excited that this is finally coming out and look forward to receiving my copy.

    One point: the quotation in the advertising blurb is by Leighton C. Peterson, not me. I realize that having two anthropologists named Peterson, both of whom do work in/on media (quite different work, but…), in the same anthropology department is confusing, but credit where credit is due. The Berghahn site has it correct.

  2. January 4, 2011 9:09 pm

    Oops, thanks Mark – my apologies to Leighton C.; I ‘corrected’ the info sent to me by Berghahn. I assumed it was highly improbable that Leighton C. worked at the same uni as Mark A.. Should’ve checked first!

  3. January 6, 2011 5:20 pm

    I updated the article you published on I think with a note about the book. Congratulations…

  4. February 10, 2012 5:43 pm

    Localism and the web: a new era for England’s democracy?
    Gavin Barker, 10 February 2012


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