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A Digital Anthropology Reading List

Last tended Nov 18, 2020
The Web

As a Digital Anthropology enthusiast and practioner-in-training, I'm often asked for reading recommendations that are are good entry points into the field.

I've compiled a list of gateway drugs.

This is a collection of books, talks, documentaries, articles, and academic paper that are a mix of "essential reads," plus some of my personal picks.
It will give you a sweeping overview of what digital anthropologists tend to spend their time thinking about and researching.

Most of them aren't overly academic, so you don't need to worry about trugding through too much Foucauldian theory or references to Marxist reification (no promises though, sometimes it just comes out of left field).


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Addiction By Design

Natasha Dow Schull

A beautiful ethnography of machine gamblers in Las Vegas. Dow Schull explores the nature of addictive relationships with machines, experiences of embodiment, and the ethics of designing technological systems.

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A Cyborg Manifesto

Donna Haraway

While a bit academically dense to read, Haraway's reframing of the Cyborg is an eternal classic.

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Coming of Age in Second Life

Tom Boellstroff

An ethnography conducted entirely within the virtual world of Second Life. This is widely considered the first substantial ethnography of an online community. Tom Boellstroff pioneered the idea digital spaces should be taken seriously as cultural fieldsites.

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Two Bits: the Cultural Significance of Free Software

Christopher Kelty

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Divining a Digital Future

Genevieve Bell & Paul Dourish

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Coding Freedom: The Ethics and Aesthetics of Hacking

Gabriella Coleman

Talks & Documentaries

Papers & Articles

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