chapter  1
Anthropology confronts a networked world
Pages 15

Anthropologists have long acknowledged that inhabit a world of networked people and places, one where 'culture' and 'identity' are never coincident in any Cartesian way with place. Like other theoretical and methodological innovations in the field, networked anthropology engages dialectically with the past, developing potentialities out of earlier experiments in anthropological research. In some ways, networked anthropology was implicit in the very beginnings of contemporary, ethnographic research: such as, the Torres Straits expedition of 1898. Methodologically, the Torres Straits expedition is best remembered for Rivers's 'genealogical method' which is selling the expedition short. Another moment in networked anthropology arose during the 1930s with the mass-observation (M-O) movement in England, a decade-long effort to record everyday life through what could be called in retrospect crowdsourced anthropology. As collaborative anthropology, M-O built up networks of contributors from all over, a participatory project that decentralized the production of ethnographic truths.