Tweeting the Hell Train

Moving Across Scale and Platform in Seoul Walker, Rider, Smartphone Talker In Ryu Shin’s 2014 Seoul Arcade Project, the author, in the persona of the “walker” (구보), explores Seoul through Benjamin’s “Arcades Project,” focusing on the phantasmagoria of Korean capitalism and spectacle over the course of a day’s travel from Gangnam to Gangbuk and back again.  […]

Twitter on the Plaza

The Spatial Practice of Online Social Networks What are the relationships between the city and the social media used in the city?  I assume that social media have had an impact on the ways we relate to the city.  This, after all, was one the goals in utilizing Twitter in #Occupy protests—to organize people in […]

Attack of the Social Media Zombies

My colleague, Matthew Durington, and I have just finished our final iteration of a 4-year collaborative project, Anthropology By the Wire.   From the outset, we sought to produce counter-narratives to David Simon’s “The Wire,” alternative representations that contest urban imaginaries of Baltimore premised on crime and drugs.  Through collaborative productions shared through social media, we […]

Poor Data, Rich Data, Big Data, Chief

Over the past 2 years, Big Data has worked its way into public consciousness, courtesy of widespread news exposure and a series of popular books by Big Data scientists with hyperbolic evocations of the analytic power of their methods.  There seems to be nothing that Big Data cannot do: predict health and wellness, illuminate culture […]

Latent City

Mapping Social Networks onto Urban Spaces A couple of decades ago, social network analysis was a fairly recondite branch of sociology and anthropology applying mathematical matrices to social relationships.  And then there was Facebook.  With the widespread adoption of social networking sites (SNS), several things happened.  First, these social networks utilized the same graph theory […]

Anthropology Fieldwork and the Third Man

I watched Carol Reed’s “The Third Man” (1949) again last week, and I was again reminded what a perfect parable the film is for the ethnographic encounter.  It begins with Holly Martins’ arrival in post-war Vienna.  He’s a dime-store novelist who’s been invited by his school friend, Harry Lime, for a visit—but Harry’s been run […]