Monday, April 3, 2006

Sunday morning gazette

There appear to be strange connections between nomadic marriage practices and genetic mutations. And despite people's discomfort with non-traditional families, HBO pushes forward with their new drama about the everyday lives of a polygamist family.

It also seems the over-privileged and shallow are attempting to take over what it means to be an adult. On the other hand, what's to gain from not buying in a society dominated by consumption? Perhaps a world where objects are more than commodities?

Caterina and Stewart are right: we are experiencing a culture of generosity and there is something truly beautiful about building a place for the eyes of the world. And Tom is right that social media encourage people getting back more than they put in. But when Yahoo explains exactly why they were impressed by Flickr, it's kind of hard to miss that financial profit and wealth aren't amongst the things being shared.

Glen Fuller takes a critical look at how "subcultural media manipulate and exploit the affects of an enthusiasm (or interest), not as a means directed to an ends, but as a way to generate activity".

I've been trying out the Perec exercises Matt posted, and I much prefer the idea that designers are social engineers instead of slaves to industry. It gives designers enough agency to be able to take responsibility, and be accountable for the worlds they shape.

How to Make the Invisible Stay Invisible: Three Case Studies in Micropolitical Engineering (pdf) by Catherine D'Ignazio

In Anthropology Among the Disciplines, Rena Lederman is taking a closer look at the differences between disciplines and why anthropologists might not like non-anthropologists claiming the title (via). Now before a certain friend again accuses me of being elitist and arrogant, my claim isn't one of superiority, authority or right of use, but rather one of acknowledging and respecting difference. In related news, danah boyd has apparently become a cultural anthropologist.

Planet of Slums sounds good. And maybe more interesting on tactical levels than Shadow Cities, although Squattercity often has good stories. But has anyone else ever wondered about the ethics of using slums as aesthetic inspiration?


Anonymous Abe said...

well on the last point, check out Rana Dasgupta's "Sudden Stardom of the Third World City"

Anonymous anne said...

Thanks abe - quite interesting and I can agree with much of the following:

"The idea of the total, centralised, maximally efficient city plan has long since lost its futuristic appeal...a western, metropolitan outlook could not have imagined a world so devoid of centre, so unsentimentally flattened out, with no cultural boundaries to stand in the way of absolute technology and capital...a stupendous fertility"

but there's something a bit weird to me about the claim that "third-world" cities are better suited for radical diversity and I think the article also tends to romanticise, if not blatantly exoticise, that which escapes "western" imaginaries. (It reads a bit like a sales-pitch for the non-western city as our global future.)

And this brings me back to my question of ethics: what are we taking from foreign slums in order to make local non-slums better?

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Love this comment on danah's post: "At Eastwick we've been talking about the 'anthropologist' as a new job function in the world of PR and corporate communication. The work you are doing in social media is helping us to navigate the way."

Blogger Anne said...

anonymous - super weird! i just posted a comment over there and asked her about the comment you mention.


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