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Ethnography and its technological parallels

Ellen Isaacs defines Ethnography as “the study of behaviour within a culture”. She argues that, by watching human behaviour, we can learn human habits and use those in the technological field to decide “what to invent next”. She uses the example of watching computer scientists use a 1980s Xerox machine in order to create the … Continue reading

How voyeuristic is visual anthropology? (Chenchus)

Anthropology as a field of study has only materialised within the last century. Studying visual and material cultures from around the world teaches different countries about each other. Within the field of ethnography, however, there has been a historical tendency for westerners to make ethnographic film which, rather than simply observing and discussing other cultures, … Continue reading

One Day in the Life of a Men’s Monastery

The monastery of St Simon the Zealot Hieromonk Andrei is in the disputed Caucasian region of Abkhazia but the monks who live here, on the surface, are blissfully unaware of the political struggle which hangs over this voiceless documentary. The morning clouds open up and the sun shines through, reaching down to the almost painfully … Continue reading

Dunkles, R√§tselhaftes √Ėsterreich/Dark, Mysterious Austria

“As soon as Europeans write their theory, they begin to believe in it” This film is hilarious and worth watching simply as a parody of old-style ethnographic film. At its heart, however, is an important message about narcissism, ethnocentrism, imperialism and cultural superiority. Watching this film is a voyeuristic experience in that through our ridicule … Continue reading