CyberAnthropology is an approach that submits anthropological and philosophical questions (as well as sociological, political and linguistic questions including questions of constitutional law arising from them) to different fields associated with the internet – which has not been done in this specific transdisciplinary way in previous research.

The draft paper
Thiemo Breyer, Johanna Sprondel, Maren Wehrle aim to develop a possible method to analyse changes, developments and continuities between the lifeworld of users and new possibilities of participation on the internet, taking into account different methods given by different disciplines. The Paper “CyberAnthropology – Being Human on the Internet” was presented at the Symposium.

Please find the latest version of the Cyberanthropology-Paper here.

The workshop
In the workshop we raised the question of how the interaction between us human beings and the medium of the internet can be grasped theoretically and how human behaviours, needs and desires correlate with it practically. CyberAnthropology thus targets the questions of how the human being understands itself and others, how it structures its lifeworld when embedded in virtual environments, in face of the challenges posed by the internet as the dominating medium. Is the internet a new virtual reality or just the representation of old norms and habits? Can we speak of a “cyber citizen” and has the “animal socio-politicum” changed in the light of the internet as a primary form of communication and source of knowledge? How do interest groups form, if one considers the fact that the internet transcends local, regional, national, ethnical and social boundaries? How do new boundaries and normative orders emerge?

Discussion and remarks
Starting with an approach to describe the relationship between the materiality of the internet and its peculiar “message” – for humanity, human responsibility and political action – at our workshop we quickly got involved in a lively discussion on questions of human rights, internet crimes, the expression of emotions on the internet and others and how our method could grasp these fields of interest. So by know we started working on the following questions with a number of researchers representing the wide range of disciplines that are tackled when questions like the following are brought to discussion: What do we have to take into account, when we consider human beings on the internet? Is the internet a space to express or a way to veil ourselves? And especially: How do feelings, relations, wants, needs etc. of the humanbeing find conversion or even implementation on the internet? Is there a profound gap between the “virtual” and the “real”? And who is personalizing whom?

The authors are open for anyone who wants to join the ongoing discussion: mail(a)cyberanthropology.de

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