“Two Bits”

In Anthropology, Erkan's readings, Lines of thought on August 29, 2008 at 12:32

I remember once linking to Cris Kelty’s Two Bits: The Cultural Significance of Free Software( by Christopher M. Kelty) but now i began reading it and i would like to recommend it again. Prof. Kelty is in my dissertation committee but more than that he is the one who encouraged me to start this blog! So readers of the blog should pay their tributes to him:) One of the experimental aspects of Two Bits is that Cris put all the book online. It has its own site and anticipates future collaborations: The book can be downloaded here:

Two Bits


I have just started to read. So I am still in the very first chapters. But I thank God that I don’t need to lie. This is really an exciting book to read for me!

In a related issue, there is a good discussion in the last issue of Cultural Anthropology. The title sums up the subject matter of discussion. However, this needs subscription.

ANTHROPOLOGY OF/IN CIRCULATION: The Future of Open Access and Scholarly Societies

Speaking of Cultural Anthropology, check out the journal website

Two Bits in Interview Form

By ckelty

For those of you who’d like to know more about my book, but want it presented in a more convenient question and answer form, the media theorist and activist Geert Lovink just posted an email interview he did with me. It has some of the best questions I’ve been asked, and it means I’m in good company amongst the other interviewees. The original is on Geert’s site, Networked Cultures. I will also be making a few changes to my profile page, which the attentive reader might glean from this interview, also re-posted at

Map - The Kula Ring by runningafterantelope.
Bronislaw Malinowski

In "Great Diagrams in Anthropology, Linguistics, & Social Theory"

Native American Tribe Allows Gay Marriage

By Lorenz


Gay marriage is banned in Oregon and the most states in the U.S. But if you are gay and Native Indian you are lucky: The Coquille Indian Tribe on the southern Oregon coast recently adopted a law that recognizes same-sex marriage.

The law extends to gay and lesbian partners all tribal benefits of marriage – even if a Coquille marries an Italian or Pakistani, ap and The Oregonian, report.

Cyborg Anthropology in Slightly More than 140 Characters
By Amber Case
The ‘field’ of anthropology suddenly arrived at my fingertips. Google Analytics, RSS feeds, audio recording and Twitter have vastly enhanced my ability to understand the effects that computers have had on humans and vice versal.

Anthropology has always been visual
By Dori
Two, I am co-holding with the diagram-master himself, Hugh Dubberly, a workshop at the American Anthropological Association Meetings in San Francisco as part of the NAPA Design and Anthropology Special Interest Group.

Typographic “Errors” on Blogs

By Maximilian Forte

While in the process of moving posts between blogs in preparation for the new blog I alluded to in my last post, I came across one that originally came from The CAC Review (my first blog, started in 2003) and re-read it since it will be timely again tomorrow. The post in question had to with the Caribs of Arima, Trinidad, and what I thought was a particularly nasty set of messages projected at them, the nation, and those listening in from the wider world, about ethnicity, identity, and the position of the Carib community. For what was otherwise such a staid blog — apart from the long campaign it led against Disney and its Pirates of the Caribbean – that post was among the exceptions for being so openly and directly critical, especially about a powerful and respected institution in Trinidad. Close to a dozen of the 700+ subscribers dropped their subscriptions in the days immediately after the post went up. And so that post was a pretty “big deal” for that blog, for that time.

Stuff White People Like: Anthropology, apparently

By Maximilian Forte on stuff white people like

While reviewing an article titled, “No Surprise Here! Almost No Black Faculty Members in the Field of Anthropology,” in The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education (No. 16, Summer 1997, 37-39), I performed a very cursory Google search for “white people” and “anthropology” and ended up at a Los Angeles Times article about the blog-turned-bestseller, Stuff White People Like. Searching that blog using the term “anthropology” brought up no results. That word is not used once by Lander, it seems. How interesting then: Christian Lander, the blog author, missed something important. Curiously enough the LA Times (”Christian Lander knows the Stuff White People Like” Mindy Farabee, July 4, 2008) calls Lander’s work a “satiric ethnographic book” and his blog, the one that does not mention anthropology, “a snarky bit of grass-roots anthropology.” (His book reminded me of another post on this blog, in terms of what kind of “anthropology” really gets public attention.) But is anthropology stuff that white people like? According to the study mentioned at the outset, yes, and it is particularly stuff that black people do not like.

The first PhD in Neuroanthropology!

By Paul Mason

Congratulations goes to Juan Dominguez from Colombia who has spent the last seven years in Australia completing a Post-graduate diploma in Arts (Anthropology), Honours in Anthropology and the first ever PhD promoting neuroanthropology! I am sure that Juan would also like me to mention the role of his principal supervisor, Dr Douglas Lewis, who has also played a role in the formation and development of Neuroanthropology. (In fact, we only registered three days before Dr Douglas Lewis attempted to do the same thing).

Media and practice theory: a sketch

By John Postill

Edited extract from Postill, J. (forthcoming) Introduction. In Bräuchler, B. and J. Postill (eds) Theorising Media and Practice. Oxford and New York: Berghahn.

NB: work in progress

Practice theory and YouTube

By John Postill on YouTube

Watching YouTube and Broadcasting Yourself: Reappraising Media Consumption from a Practice Theory Perspective

By: Jie Gu

Online video consumption, mainly attributable to the online video sharing sites such as YouTube and Yahoo Video, has grown tremendously in the past few years. From a media consumption studies perspective, people’s engagement with YouTube involves a wide range of practices ranging from watching YouTube as an audience to broadcasting yourself as a consumer.

‘Power Struggles’ Illuminates History of Technological Change
University of Arizona News (press release) – Tucson,AZ,USA
Anthropology Professor Michael Brian Schiffer’s latest book details how social forces often set the tone for new product development in the years leading up

How to challenge Us-and-Them thinking? Interview with Thomas Hylland Eriksen

By Lorenz

As some of you might know, I work as a journalist at the interdisciplinary research program Culcom – Cultural Complexity in the New Norway. I’ve just put online the English translation of my interview with Thomas Hylland Eriksen, research director of Culcom.

A “Radical New Experiment” in “Anthropology”? What HTS is NOT

By Maximilian Forte

So some political scientist (David Kilcullen) decides to call his counterinsurgency work “conflict ethnography.” Do we take that at face value as ethnography? On what basis is the Human Terrain System “anthropology” as Grant McCracken celebrates it, bemoaning that anthropology is only ever really applied when it is applied in dominating other nations and murdering those who oppose U.S. hegemony?

"Untouched" Amazone hosted large cities – a model for the future?

By Lorenz

The myth of the “untouched” Amazone is popular. But areas that look pristine today have been the home of large urban areas, anthropologist Michael Heckenberger has found out already five years ago.

In a new paper that was published today in Science he writes that these settlements might be a model for the future.

In a press release Heckenberger says:

HTS and military targeting?

By llwynn

There’s an article by Steve Featherstone about the Human Terrain System (HTS) in the September issue of Harpers magazine, entitled “Human Quicksand.”  (The Harpers link requires a subscription to access, but the entire article is available at this website — however, the link might not last since Harpers has insisted that the website “cease and desist” from violating copyright.)

Human Quicksand for the U.S. Army, a crash course in cultural studies

By Maximilian Forte on Human Terrain System

By Steve Featherstone

Harper’s Magazine, September 2008

In July of last year I was stranded for a week at a military base in Kuwait, waiting for a flight to Kabul. I was traveling with four members of a new U.S. Army unit called the Human Terrain Team (HTT). One morning the team sat at a long table in the mess hall. It was already 120 degrees outside, and there was no compelling reason to leave the air-conditioning. Our flight wasn’t scheduled to leave until that night.

T.H. Eriksen interview and discussion on national cultures

By John Postill on nationalism

Lorenz has an interesting blog post on his interview with the anthropologist Thomas H. Eriksen, who among other things is the research director of the interdisciplinary research programme Culcom – Cultural Complexity in the New Norway. The following quote prompted me to post on the always slippery subject of national culture:

How can we theorise media practices?

By John Postill on social theory

I have just sent through the post to Berghahn Books two copies of the manuscript Bräuchler, B. and J. Postill (eds) (forthcoming) Theorising Media and Practice. Oxford and New York : Berghahn. This has been an arduous but immensely rewarding process so far. Now we need to wait for the reader to get back to us with suggestions for revision and then we’ll be on our way to publication.

  1. Thank you for including a link to my very short introduction to Cyborg Anthropology in this post.
    “The Cultural Significance of Free Software” is a fascinating book, and is even more engaging when one is surrounded by an open source community like Portland Oregon’s.
    I would be very interested in reading some of your papers if you have any available to read. I wrote my thesis on cell phones and Technosocial interaction and would be happy to trade. 🙂

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