An Anthropological View of New Media and Culture

How we got to where we are? How the human race have evolved to what we are today?  Anthropology, the study of humans, past and present in order to apply solutions to human problems  (American Anthropological Association, 2012), tries to find out how our origins, physical and cultural development, biological characteristics, and social customs ( have shaped how we relate to each other from culture to culture.

In order to understand humans, anthropologists study different cultures, from its origins, to physical and biological characteristics and social customs like language expressions, preferably in its natural habitat and utilizing different research methods such as participant observation, surveys, and interviews, among others to collect and analyze data in an attempt to understand who we are.

New media on the other hand, can be defined as dynamic, interactive, collaborative, and instant, where as users we consume and produce web content without special technical skills to generate and share content on the web. “New media refers to a wide range of changes in media production, distribution, and use” (Lister, Dovey, Giddings, Grant, & Kelly, 2010).

With new media emerging everyday, we no longer rely on third parties to get our news, print and share pictures, or even print our own books.  We have the power to create our own channel and broadcast ourselves to our heart contents to as many people want to follow us.  We live in an era where we have everything at our fingertips and at an incredible speed; sharing an idea takes a keystroke and as many friends you have in your contact list.

By marrying anthropology and new media, one can see the need, the urge to investigate the effects of new media on our daily interactions, on how is turning us into a new, big, single culture where for the first time, language, biological characteristics, social customs, or distance are not so important as before to engage in social interactions and see the outcome.


American Anthropological Association. (2012). What is Anthropology? Retrieved 1 23, 2012, from American Anthropological Association: (2012, April 4). Anthropology Definition. Retrieved April 4, 2012, from

Lister, M., Dovey, J., Giddings, S., Grant, I., & Kelly, K. (2010). New media, a critical introduction. New York, NY: Routledge.


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