John Postill, friend of Ørecomm, just published an interesting, reflexive paper. The abstract:
In this paper I address the question of how to study media and social change ethnographically. To do so I draw from the relevant media anthropology literature, including my own research in Malaysia and Spain. I first sketch a history of media anthropology, identifying a number of key works and themes as well as two main phases of growth since the 1980s. I then argue that anthropologists are well positioned to contribute to the interdisciplinary study of media and social change. However, to do so we must first shift our current focus on media and ‘social changing’ (i.e. how things are changing) to the study of media in relation to actual social changes, e.g. the suburbanisation of Kuala Lumpur in the 1970s to 2000s, or the secularisation of morality in post-Franco Spain. This shift from the ethnographic present continuous to the ethnographic past tense – a move from potential to actual changes – does not require that we abandon our commitment to ethnography in favour of social history. Rather, it demands new forms of ‘diachronic ethnography’ that can handle the processual, finite logic of actual social changes.