kraut atlantik

media anthropology site

ethnography vs. anthropology

John Postill recently posted Tim Ingold’s Radcliffe-Brown Lecture, held on 14 March 2007 at the British Academy, a pretty interesting piece on the issue. See media anthropology

Anthropology has been shrinking. Once an inclusive inquiry into the conditions of human life, it has increasingly turned inwards on itself. One reason for this shrinkage lies in the identification of anthropology with ethnography. Such identification leads us to think of observation as a means to the end of description. The lecturer will aim to show, to the contrary, how description not just literary but graphic and performative – can be re-embedded in observation. Overturning the relation between observation and description will enhance anthropology”s potential to engage with biology, psychology and archaeology on the great questions of the origins and destiny of humankind.

Professor Timothy Ingold, FBA, University of Aberdeen

complete lecture available at british academy (audio) and here as a .pdf file



  John Postill wrote @

Thanks Angela. I’m currently writing the first part of a debate on media anthropology for the journal Social Anthropology and will probably be referring to Ingold’s lecture. More news on the media/anthropology blog in due course.

  angela wrote @

thats good news, john. any chance to get a glimpse beforehand? currently writing a piece on media/journalism/anthropology for an annual swiss journal and would love to at least give a reference.

  John Postill wrote @

Hope to have it by tonight or tomorra morning, will send you a draft; please send me that piece when you have it (auf Schweitzerdeutsch geht’s auch)


  angela wrote @

thats fine with me. i have to hand in in two weeks time. as the journal will be published in january this will give the editors a chance to go through the references themselves and perhaps use some of it for the editorial, as this is a dossier on the issue anthro/journalism. would be a good chance to place media anthro as such. looking forward to read your work. will send you mine as soon as i get i back from the editors. btw. what about your book?

  John Postill wrote @

excellent – well, here is the promised start to the debate “What’s the point of media anthropology?” (all comments most welcome)

the book is nearing completion, is all I can say – in the process of revising the whole manuscript; thanks for asking!

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