Web Roundups

Web Roundup: Public and Private

Last month Matthew Dalstrom linked to web content on abortion and patent laws. The divide between public and private, and questions such as: Is what’s private really always political? inspire this month’s short web roundup.
The Open Access movement has a vocal political agenda. In academic publishing, and also in anthropology as an academic field, one argument is that what is researched, often with public funds, cannot be hidden behind pay walls once published. Ryan Anderson of Anthropology in Public not only has the fitting blog title, but is also really interested in open access in and about anthropology. He has conducted a series of interviews for Savage Minds with Jason Baird Jackson, Tom Boellstorff, and Keith Hart on the topic. Already from 2011 and 2012, these interviews are now available for download at Ryan’s academia account. The Open Access Now Initiative shares thoughts on the AAA’s decision to go open access.

If anthropology is in the public eye, what is its image? Surely there are many concepts and perceptions of what anthropologists do (inspiring groups such This Is Anthropology!). But what about the bad press? Anthropology has a bad reputation argue guest columnists Ty Matejowsky and Beatriz M. Reyes-Foster in the Orlando Sentinel. They want anthropologists to reclaim their public “brand” and not have it defined by “others”. Sarah Kendzior talks more about anthropology’s public engagement in another interview over at Anthropology in Public.

Is there anything more public yet private at the same time as social media? How tools may contribute to work on development, and what role anthropology plays, is at the center of a debate in the Guardian. Also on the topic of blogging for and about international development: Tobias Denskus and Andrea S. Papan’s reflections. The public activity of blogging would appear to give a voice to those usually unheard: but does it? I’d be interested in hearing more about an anthropology of empowerment through social media, especially in the context of expensive technologies and access. Feel free to leave a comment below. If you are working on issues of digital media and anthropology, there is also currently a call for papers on the Ethnography Matters Blog.

Public vs. private: Ethnology and anthropology also play roles in the closed environments of corporations. Working in this field is Steve Portigal, who gives an interview on Ethnography Matters on the issue of interviewing users (and his book).

Finally, we all move between and beyond spheres of privacy and the public eye, and sometimes we break the (official or unofficial) rules of what behaviors belong to which sphere. Krystal D’Costa has written a short but fascinating piece on crying in the workspace. Her conclusion: While the workplace might be too restricted a place to let it all out, “neutral” public spheres like sidewalks or the subway are legitimate spaces to be both private and public. Do you find her division accurate? Please share your ideas on private and public spaces in the comments.

By Melanie Boeckmann

aiming for a PhD in Public Health, currently working in health policy and research.

One reply on “Web Roundup: Public and Private”

[…] Last month Melanie Boeckmann gathered links from around the web dealing with multiple publics—the public image of anthropology, the availability of content to the public, and the place of private behavior in public, just to name a few topics.  Melanie’s interest in public leads the way for this month’s web roundup, where I ask: what ideas (and imaginaries) about future bodies circulate publicly? Specifically, several new pieces on cutting edge assistive technology offer the image of a future body that is at once aesthetically familiar and technically advanced. George Dvorsky of iO9 returns from the Global Future 2045 Congress in New York City to recount the overwhelming interest in RSLSteeper’s latest artificial hand.  “This is what it’s like to shake hands with the future” follows “Nigel Ackland, the recipient of the Bebionic 3 artificial hand—the world’s most advanced cybernetic limb” and the crowds that lined up to see all that Ackland-as-cyborg can do. […]

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