Fields of interdisciplinary contact

18 10 2008

EASA’s Media Anthropology Network has a new working paper online (.pdf). Eric Rothenbuhler‘s paper on the interdisciplinarity of media anthropology will be discussed online (22 Oct-5 Nov). Expect a lively debate and some serious theorizing on the anthropology of media. Here’s Eric’s abstract:

Media anthropology is a rapidly developing new field of interdisciplinary studies. With roots going back decades in both Communication and Anthropology, nevertheless this work has only recently coalesced under the label Media Anthropology and its contributing authors come into dialogue. In turn this has produced a moment of intellectual self-consciousness about the tasks of defining this field of study and debating its parameters. This essay argues that media anthropology is and would most profitably continue to be a field of contact between two disciplines, rather than generating a new disciplinary frame of its own. Often this contact is rudimentary, but productively so. Anthropologists and communication scholars approach Media Anthropology from different directions with different histories and for different purposes. It is not only natural, but productive, that they would make differing choices of concepts, methods, and interpretations. This is as it should be and attempts to discipline Media Anthropology will either fail or bleed the territory of its vitality.

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