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Chris Kelty on academic practices and the blogosphere

October 1, 2008

Chris Kelty has posted a very thoughtful piece on the collective blog Savage Minds about academic life – especially anthropology – and the blogosphere. I think this piece will stick and we’ll be revisiting it for a while. As readers of media/anthropology will know, I have done some work on practice theory and field theory lately (not only Bourdieu’s version, I hasten to add) and Kelty’s remarks about “field of care” structures and different paces of Web life resonate strongly with my own findings and experiences.

One dimension I would add to Kelty’s account is power – the old Manchester School of anthropology focus on conflict within and across political fields (broadly defined). Far from being an aberration to be averted at all costs, conflict is part and parcel of any “field of care”. Fields of care are also battlefields, to use Bourdieu’s idiom.

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