Universiteit Leiden

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Lecture

CADS Research Seminar | The Digitizing Family: An Ethnography of Melanesian Smartphones

  • Dr. Geoff Hobbis
Date
Monday 2 March 2020
Time
Location
Pieter de la Court
Wassenaarseweg 52
2333 AK Leiden
Room
5.A23

The Digitizing Family: An Ethnography of Melanesian Smartphones

At once a digital ethnography of smartphones and a classically conceived village-based ethnography, my research relocates the study of digital technologies to rural Melanesia, with a focus on the Lau of Malaita, Solomon Islands. Through a technographic approach, I study the materiality and functional attributes of smartphones and their object biographies—modes of acquisition, maintenance, uses, limitations and the problems specific to this region in adopting and adapting smartphones in everyday life—and explore the social and cultural transformations, the hopes and uncertainties, with which they are associated. Ultimately, in bringing together a study of digital technologies with classical anthropological theory, I develop a theory of smartphones as kinship technologies and supercompositional objects.

About Dr. Geoff Hobbis

Geoffrey Hobbis is a Sociocultural Anthropologist and an Assistant Professor at the Centre for Media and Journalism Studies, University of Groningen. He is the author of The Digitizing Family: An Ethnography of Melanesian Smartphones (2020, Palgrave) and has published on digital transformations in contexts of rapid socioeconomic and environmental change in, among others, Anthropological Forum, Oceania, and Visual Anthropology.  

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