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This groundbreaking volume showcases the exciting work emerging from the ethnography of media, a burgeoning new area in anthropology that expands both social theory and ethnographic fieldwork to examine the way media—film, television, video—are used in societies around the globe, often in places that have been off the map of conventional media studies. The contributors, key figures in this new field, cover topics ranging from indigenous media projects around the world to the unexpected effects of state control of media to the local impact of film and television as they travel transnationally. Their essays, mostly new work produced for this volume, bring provocative new theoretical perspectives grounded in cross-cultural ethnographic realities to the study of media.
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"After years of avoiding the subject, anthropologists have finally discovered that media can be profitably studied ethnographically and that anthropology of media is not only possible but essential. Media Worlds is a collection of groundbreaking essays by top-notch scholars."—Jay Ruby, author of Picturing Culture: Explorations of Film and Anthropology
"Not just a book, but the book on the anthropology of the media. The collection works not just as an assemblage but from a sense that every paper adds another perspective to the whole."—Danny Miller, co-author of The Internet: An Ethnographic Approach
"The anthropology of media is in many ways the most dynamic domain of the discipline today. Media Worlds will establish itself immediately as the canonical volume in this long overdue area of study. Its rigorous ethnographic studies of the production, distribution, and reception of film, television, and electronic media around the world will also encourage media and cultural studies to relinquish the exclusivity they afford to the 'text' and to attend to the global social practices of media in toto. An outstanding work."—Lucien Taylor, co-author of Cross-Cultural Filmmaking: A Handbook for Making Documentary and Ethnographic Films and Videos
"The strength of this lovely collection is in the diversity and range of the case materials that it brings together under one cover."—Michael M. J. Fischer, coauthor of Anthropology as Cultural Critique: An Experimental Moment in the Human Sciences
"Contemporary media studies allow us to continue examining anthropology's traditional subjects in promising new ways. This strong and comprehensive collection by the key figures who have pioneered media studies in anthropology both focuses and surveys the field. As a much needed teaching resource, it will stimulate the proliferation of culture and media courses and will transform the many courses that are built on the identification of peoples as indigenous, minority, or ethnic."—George E. Marcus, editor of the series Late Editions: Cultural Studies for the End of the Century
"Media Worlds is a compelling argument for how and why media matters in anthropology and the contemporary world. The exciting array of field-defining work bridges anthropology and film, TV, and radio media. Critically revising earlier paradigms for an anthropology of (visual) communication, the authors argue for new and forceful concerns with media activism, representation, nationalism and transnationalism, diasporas, and social engagements with technology."—Steven Feld, Producer of Voices of the Rainforest and Professor of Music and Anthropology, Columbia University
"It is amazing that this is the first book of its kind. One would think that an anthropological approach, placing the media squarely within the rich and diverse contexts of social relations and everyday life, would long have been integral to media studies. Not so! This wonderful book provides an overdue correction. As the essays here show, we cannot understand lives and societies without understanding the mediascapes we inhabit. This is compulsive reading!"—Ien Ang, author of Living Room Wars: Rethinking Media Audiences for a Postmodern World
"This landmark collection maps and motivates the anthropological voice in media studies by locating the media in worlds of practice, sentiment, debate, and dissent. Using such vivid examples as the image management of the Dalai Lama and the social organization of Nigerian cinema theatres, the authors remind us that media machineries are no more magical than the social worlds they inhabit and project. Media Worlds will be a boon to scholars and teachers in media studies, anthropology, and global cultural studies."—Arjun Appadurai, author of Modernity at Large: Cultural Dimensions of Globalization
Faye D. Ginsburg is David B. Kriser Professor of Anthropology and Director of the Center for Media, Culture and History at New York University. She is author of the award-winning Contested Lives: The Abortion Debate in an American Community (California, second edition 1998) and coeditor of Conceiving the New World Order: The Global Politics of Reproduction (California, 1995), among other books. Lila Abu-Lughod is Professor of Anthropology and Women's Studies at Columbia University and author of the award-winning books Writing Women's Worlds: Bedouin Stories (California, 1993) and Veiled Sentiments: Honor and Poetry in a Bedouin Society (California, 1986, 2000), among others. Brian Larkin is Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Barnard College, Columbia University.
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