The emergence of information and communication technology (ICT) has created new premises for social life, characterized by interactivity, communication, networks and translocality. In high tech societies, the Internet and mobile phones have become an integral part of daily life, but digital technology is of growing significance in developing countries as well, not least in relation to modernization and globalization.

This course examines the development and use of ICT in different social and cultural contexts, from an anthropological perspective. Digital technology is treated as a cultural construct, the characteristics and impact of which are analyzed through theories of the interplay between technology and society. Ethnographies of Internet and mobile phone use in different parts of the world and in different digital environments will be used to examine issues such as culture, power and identity. The course will also examine relevant ethnographic research methods, exemplified through empirical case studies.

Learning objectives

On completion of the course students will be able to:

  • Use anthropological theories and concepts to identify and explain the development and use of ICT in different social and cultural contexts
  • Relate anthropological theories of ICT to a number of empirical case studies investigated during the course
  • Apply ethnographic research methods to studies of ICT