The insights of an online ethnography

Originally posted on Weblog Social Media and Governance:

My research indicates that the people who live in Cybercity do so as an integral part of their everyday life” [1].

While reading Carter’s article, I could not help but think of an experience I had in 2008. At the time I was in my fifth year of high school (the year before senior year) and I was visiting different universities to see where I would go after I had finished high school.

Utrecht University offered a special two-day master class for high school students, called “virtuele beleving” (virtual experience). It was offered at the faculty of science and could best be seen as a try-out for the program of Information Science. In the master class we looked into Second Life and answered questions like: “What is it like to go on holiday in Second Life?” and “Could you open a virtual travel agency in Second Life?”


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“Who speaks for Nature?”: Political representation and the challenge of non-human entities

Originally posted on Non human entities: cosmopolitics and modern politics:

“Who speaks for Nature?”: Political representation and the challenge of non-human entities

       “Animals should be represented in human parliaments”, “political representation should not exclude nonhumans”. Here are some of the claims we might hear from ecologist activists, environmental thinkers, or just people who consider indeed that non-human entities should be granted the possibility to be represented. But what does representation mean here? What is political representation? How could it be applied to nonhumans? In other words, “who speaks for nature” (1) , and how can they do it?

Speech and politics

Politics is speech

       The idea that politics is speaking is present since Aristotle, who wrote in his Book 1 of his Politics that “Man is a political animal, in a sense in which a bee is not”. The core difference between men and animals lies in the fact that the latter cannot speak…

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How Am I ‘Culture’?

Originally posted on The Rockstar Anthropologist:

Anthropology has many goals. When we really begin to deconstruct and think about what those goals and aims are, the scope of those goals actually seem a bit absurd. However, I’m going to try and simplify a couple of them for the purposes of presenting a point. Anthropology is chiefly concerned with what is means to be human. What does it mean to be human to you?

If you immediately started thinking about that question, I want you to add a bit of self-awareness to it. What I mean by that, is to consider that no matter what you answer, it is correct because you are human and you are thinking about your humanness from your point of view.

I’m going to make this really complex now. Think about what it is to be a man or woman.    Are your answers the same as your answers regarding what it…

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How to steal scientific ideas.

Originally posted on In the name of science...:

Locked drqwer Science is a business of ideas. By its very definition, researchers are required to generate new ideas. However, the ideas do not pop up in vacuum. Astute researchers have to master the literature, learn where the gaps in the current field of research exist and then find a feasible way to fill those gaps.

The way the current research training is done, the majority of researchers eventually become rigid in their ideas. Their research becomes dull and boring. In the name of ‘detailed study’ they keep burrowing deeper into descriptive research. Years of battles with paper publications, failed grant applications and stress of obtaining tenure and load of teaching wears them out. Only few remain as enthusiastic as they were in the beginnings of their career. Of those who remain enthusiastic, most are not driven by scientific inquiry but by the social and political thrill of it.

Surviving on the…

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Stuart Hall

“Culture comes into play at precisely the point where biological individuals become subjects, and that what lies between the two is not some automatically constituted ‘natural’ process of socialization but much more complex processes of formation”
― Stuart Hall, Visual Culture: The Reader

« In this accessible introductory lecture, Hall focuses on the concept of « representation »– one of the key ideas of cultural studies– and shows how reality is never experienced directly, but always through the symbolic categories made available by society. »