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Review of Himpele (2008) Circuits of Culture

July 30, 2009

tempJeff Himpele
Circuits of Culture: Media, Politics, and Indigenous Identity in the Andes
altMinneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

Reviewed by:
Carlos D. Torres, Doctoral Candidate, Anthropology, University of Colorado – Boulder
Caroline S. Conzelman, PhD, Anthropology, University of Denver

for Indigenous Peoples site

One of the strengths of cultural anthropologists (as opposed to political scientists or mass media researchers) conducting research in the emerging field of media anthropology is that through their deep relationship with a particular place, particular people, and particular media, they are able to more holistically document the visible and audible evidence of cultural production in all of its situated complexity. Jeff Himpele, in Circuits of Culture: Media, Politics, and Indigenous Identity in the Andes, in this way creates a comprehensive media ethnography of La Paz, Bolivia, but he also goes beyond geographic constraints to look at the history of media circulation and distribution in the country as its own unique narrative and constitutive cultural process. Himpele performs an ethnographic service to his readers by offering a focused perspective of an emerging indigenous public media sphere, with increasing political consequence, that largely has been unobserved, unnoticed, unanalyzed, unarticulated, and thus unknown. At base this is a superb example of an intimately engaged, meticulously researched longitudinal ethnography.

Read on…

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