Media Anthropology represents a convergence of issues and interests on anthropological approaches to the study of media. The purpose of this reader is to promote the identity of the field of study; identify its major concepts, methods, and bibliography; comment on the state of the art; and provide examples of current research. Based on original articles by leading scholars from several countries and academic disciplines, Media Anthropology provides essays introducing the issues, reviewing the field, forging new conceptual syntheses.
Chapter 2: Media Anthropology: An Introduction
Media Anthropology: An Introduction
In 1993, in a comprehensive review essay, Debra Spitulnik invoked the insights of Stuart Hall1 and other sociologically grounded media scholars to call for more engagement by anthropologists with “mass media as vehicles of culture, as modes of imagining and imaging communities” (Spitulnik, 1993, p. 295). Years later, a fertile domain of study—the anthropology of media—has emerged, along with a general reconceptualization of anthropology that addresses our changing relationship with informants as our cultural worlds grow ever closer (Marcus, 1996). The social domains we need to track to understand contemporary lives increasingly are shaped by processes of late capitalism, requiring multisited research strategies (Gupta & Ferguson, 1997; Hannerz, 1996). Anthropologists studying media—from their political economy to their presence ...