#anthropology roundup: “The Dude Troll As Anthropologist…”The Perils of Doing Ethnography on Darknet Drug Markets…

anthro{dendum} welcomes guest blogger Alexia Maddox, contributing the first post in the Private Messages from the Field series edited by Crystal Abidin and Gabriele de Seta.


A Digital Bermuda Triangle: The Perils of Doing Ethnography on Darknet Drug Markets
by Alexia Maddox

The first time I read Coming of Age in Samoa was in my Intro to Anthro course. My teacher — and future mentor — was a social anthropologist and a social conservative of the Mary Douglas stripe. As we read the book she carefully pointed out passages where Mead seemed to contradict herself. Her impatience with the books was obvious, and at the end of the class she said “There, now you can say you’ve read something by Margaret Mead”. The message clear: Margaret Mead was an anthropologist that only non-anthropologists took seriously.

RegEx 101 (Working With Text 2)

Let’s say that there was a revolution in your field site and the “Feline Republic” is now the “Canine Republic.” This is an easy problem to solve. You just open up your word processor and use the find and replace command, replacing every instance of “Feline” with “Canine.” But what if the canine revolution also imposed new rules for personal names, reversing the order of first and last names throughout the republic? That becomes a bit more difficult. If your article includes hundreds of names, it would take at least an hour of manual labor to find and fix each name in your paper. In today’s post I want to show you how you can save some time by using tools possibly already available in your word processor1 to do a much more advanced search and replace operation.


Full coverage

anthro{dendum} welcomes guest bloggers Crystal Abidin and Gabriele de Seta who will be editing a series of blogposts titled Private Messages from the Field. To kick off the series, today’s post features an introduction and backstory to this collection of essays.


Private Messages from the Field: Confessions on Digital Ethnography and Its Discomforts
by Crystal Abidin & Gabriele de Seta

Anthropology has an unhealthy relationship to its past. Approaches range from highly fetishized, almost ritual reading of sacralized texts like The Gift and The Nuer to intense, context-free denunciations of past practitioners based on their race, gender, and emplacement in nineteenth century. In fact, perhaps the most common relationship anthropologists have to their history is ignorance. Anthropologists often have little sense of what the discipline has achieved (or not achieved) in the past, and famously reinvent the fundamental insights of their discipline, claiming novelty for their ‘innovation’.

The Musée d’Ethnographie du Trocadéro équipe in the late 1930s. Unfortunately, this period of French ethnology is rarely taught in American classrooms.
The Chinese History That Is Written in Bone

These “oracle bone” fragments, some of which show an ancient Chinese script, are housed at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto. The pieces here are just a tiny fraction of the many thousands discovered thus far at a single site in China. Xinhua/Alamy Photos

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