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CfP Cyberanthropology, Vienna, 14-17 Sep 2011

February 14, 2011

** via EASA Media Anthropology Network mailing list **

From: … Alexander Knorr …
Sent: 14 February 2011 15:05
To: Media Anthropology Network
Subject: [Medianthro] CfP Cyberanthropology GAA/DGV 2011 Vienna/Austria

Dear colleagues,

from 14th through 17th September 2011 this year’s installment of the biannual conference of the German Association of Anthropologists (GAA aka DGV) will take place in Vienna, Austria. Since 2005 I organize workshops on ‘things cyber’ at the GAA conferences, this time a workshop titled ‘Cyberculture,’ in accordance with the conference’s overall theme: ‘Wa(h)re “Kultur”? Kulturelles Erbe, Revitalisierung und die Renaissance der Idee von Kultur’ (‘True/commodity “culture?” Cultural heritage, revitalization, and the renaissance of the idea of culture’). As of today the conference website isn’t up yet, only a .pdf with the collected Calls for Papers. As I have invited two guests from English-speaking countries the workshop will be held in English. The abstract of the workshop you’ll find below. In the workshops I organize every presenter gets a slot of 40 minutes alloted. 20 minutes for the presentation, and 20 minutes for Q&A and discussion. Of course it is no problem, if the presenter needs a bit more than 20 minutes. That way we do not run into the awkward situation of having to pull a presenter off the dais by force.

Website of the DGV/GAA:

DGV/GAA 2011 collected Calls for Papers:

That said I hereby would like to invite everybody interested in presenting at the workshop to send me a proposal. Proposals must comprise no more than 150 words, and have to be sent before 11 March 2011 to me via e-mail: alexander.knorr AT The proposals should be submitted in English, likewise the presentations at the workshop will be held in English.


Alexander Knorr


During the early 1960s ‘cyberculture’ was created as a political fighting word—supported by fear of the social consequences of the proliferation of complex technology, which accelerated significantly since the postwar period. ‘Cyberculture’ then meant the ‘lifestyle’ of a society affected by cybernetics, the science of communication and control in systems of whatever provenance. The terminus proofed to be ephemeral and was forgotten during the 1970s, together with cybernetics itself. Under the impression of modern technology’s influence on all aspects of life gaining ever more weight on a global scale, anthropologist Arturo Escobar in 1994 sketched a new concept of ‘cyberculture’ and invited our whole profession to belabour the field. But social and cultural anthropology to a certain degree neglected ‘cyberculture,’ just as the concept of ‘culture.’ Instead a multitude of authors, among them so prominent ones like Pierre Lévy, coming from a wide range of academic disciplines, appropriated the term ‘cyberculture.’ Thereby it suffered a bit of an inflation, became a buzzword. But more than ever an anthropological perspective appears promising, which has as its central focus the interrelationships between humans and complex technology. This is because the manifold manifestations of digital electronics and state-of-the-art technology in general decisively co-define our contemporary world. Around the globe these technologies have become parameters of human existence, have become aspects of the ideas and designs of how to cope with this existence, and even of the idea of human itself. A lot of which still has been Science Fiction not too long ago has become Lebenswirklichkeit: Individuals who never meet face-to-face not only collaborate, but are forming friendships lasting a lifetime — interacting via a plethora of Internet services they create new forms of community and society. At the polar circle Inuit precisely find their ways through night and ice by balancing satellite-data with patterns of snowdrift. In subsaharan Africa nearly nobody has a fixed line network connection, but a lot of people possess more than one cellphone. A South-African with legs of carbon-fibre runs the 400 metres so fast that he qualifies for the Olympics. In Japan elderly people do no more want to miss the presence of androids and in the Near East robots search suspects for explosives. Since about a decade the number of anthropological studies belabouring such topics is increasing, giving ample testimony of the fact, that our discipline since long has arrived in the here and now, and that it may well be more relevant than ever. Decidedly focussed on the presence, perspectives which can be subsumed under ‘cyberculture’ promise to generate knowledge and understanding in an anthropological sense. To those perspectives the workshop is dedicated.

PD Dr. Alexander Knorr
Akademischer Oberrat
Institut für Ethnologie
Raum 274
Edmund-Rumpler-Straße 9
80939 München


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