With the Internet anthropologists are reaching new audiences and improving the dissemination of their work. Articles and books published through scholarly presses were once the best ways to disseminate academic research, but now with the Internet this isn’t entirely true. Open access publishing, self-archiving, and even self-publishing can disseminate research better than the most prestigious anthropology journals. Established journals, not blind to this issue, are changing the ways they generate revenue from publishing research. There are alternatives to the reader-pays model which restricts access to a select few. But the Internet, beyond transforming the ways anthropologists disseminate their work between each other, has had more profound significance for engaging anthropology outside its traditional audiences. For many anthropologists, new online spaces have reinvigorated the discipline, providing opportunities to reach new audiences, to incorporate new participants, and to present anthropological research in entirely new ways. Blogs, Twitter feeds, Facebook and other social media are quickly being integrated into scholarly practices. By participating online in the anthropology blogosphere, writing “openly”, this research has experimented with the ways blogs and other social media can be used to collaboratively engage participants in the research process.

Sharing Knowledge: How the Internet is Fueling Change in Anthropology (Full text .pdf)

Wordle: Sharing Knowledge: How the Internet is Fueling Change in Anthropology Wordle: A Changing AnthropologyWordle: Ethnography and the Internet

16 responses to this post.

  1. If this were a book, I would buy it, and probably assign it. Great outline.


  2. Thanks I’m glad this isn’t a disaster, as it has been reworked a kadzillion times.

    I’m currently going over my interviews and surveys to make sure any good content I pulled makes it into the thesis.

    Still need to fit in the idea of RERO, release early release often, from discussions with Enkerli. Ie using a blog as a platform to draft and build up ideas. But perhaps this can fit into the “Research Blogs” section.

    I also spent a lot of time in the interviews learning about first publishing experiences… but I can’t really fit it in.


  3. Posted by iethnographer on September 17, 2009 at 9:16 pm

    Thanks for the nudge. And I’m especially glad that you get something out of RERO. To be precise, the concept itself comes from (anthro-trained) Eric S. Raymond. But the application to blogging as a way to build up ideas is something about which I’ve been thinking a fair deal.
    BTW, just in case you have time to pass by, this weekend is PodCamp weekend. I’ll have a session at 10am on Sunday about “social science in social media.” I’d like to make it into as open a discussion as possible so it’d be great if you could come by.
    Unfortunately, Saturday is Dieu du ciel’s anniversary.
    Ah, well…


    • Posted by Owen Wiltshire on September 24, 2009 at 4:28 pm

      Very sorry I didn’t make it. I got up ready to go, but rolled off to the wrong side of the bed, and the day just went sour. I’m kicking myself now of course, at least to toughen myself for the line of people outside waiting to kick me if this thesis isn’t finished soon.


      • Posted by iethnographer on September 24, 2009 at 4:44 pm

        Nah! Don’t apologize! It would have been nice if you could have been there, but it went rather well.
        It was streamed and is available on Ustream. The microphone was off for the first few minutes but you can hear the rest. I’ve also recorded the audio (from the start) and should be able to put it on the Internet Archive.

  4. Ok, so if this chapter outline holds true, you have two more chapters to go and you are done.

    In the conclusion, maybe you might consider writing a reflection on the feedback you got by blogging the thesis, and write candidly about how useful you think it was–no problem if you mention that when it came to this, your very own blogging supervisor seemed to be AWOL.

    Also, did you get my latest email?


  5. …well, I spoke too soon…I am seeing you addressing this very question in your Ch. 3.

    Still, it would be more useful for me to get a paper version.


  6. Posted by Owen Wiltshire on January 6, 2011 at 7:54 pm

    Updated. Now links to the full google docs version.


  7. Posted by Sima Aprahamian, Ph.D. on March 28, 2011 at 11:00 pm

    Dear Owen,
    Thank you for sharing your thesis & posting it on-line. I liked it very much. I did not see the points raised by Prof. [NAME CENSORED] at the defense about chapter two as being valid.
    I agree that knowledge has to be shared and like the idea of open access. I like websites that have published works of theorists for example such as and
    Once again congratulations!
    Keep up the good work!
    All the best,


  8. Dear Sima,

    Thank you very much for attending! It was quite the experience. I am currently dealing with my “minor revisions” and hence have censored the name of the reviewer from this post. At least until it is published and nothing can come back to haunt me!!!

    I also want to discuss the points raised in future blog posts, and keeping the names anonymous will make it easier to attack them head on without worrying about offending people.

    Thanks again!



  9. Posted by Sima Aprahamian, Ph.D. on March 30, 2011 at 3:13 am

    Thank you Owen!
    & indeed in setting a thesis committee one needs to be careful…
    All the best!


  10. Dear Owen, I am still thinking of the defense of your thesis & the views expressed there…. perhaps one need to have emphasised that your own approach has been for the phase “after the fieldwork & after the publication” & more specifically on “open access”. You emphasised that in your presentation, but your title “Sharing knowledge”, may been read in a different way [a text once out there, as Derrida has argued has an autonomous existence…it is also beyond the control of the writer/author…]….[the reader may have thought of the early collaborative approach characteristic to Americanist anth. (R. Darnell) [even pre-Boasians were collaborative such as Alice Fletcher & Francis La Flesche,

    On another matter,I did notice you had used Thomas Hylland Eriksen [& perhaps Thomas Hylland Eriksen & Finn Sivert Nielsen too]. In the second chapter of Thomas Hylland Eriksen & Finn Sivert Nielsen, A History of Anthropology, “Victorians, Germans and a Frenchman”, the emphasis is that anthropology did not develop as a racist pseudo-science, as all the leading figures of anthropology supported the principle of the psychic unity of humankind (2001:17). This also may have fueled the reaction of the readers of the thesis….
    All the best!


  11. Posted by Chris Larsen on April 19, 2011 at 2:12 am

    Your thesis is an interesting read. I am particularly struck by the insularity of anthropology. I am a doctoral student in clinical psychology and my discipline is struggling to understand culture and to give future psychologists the ability to effectively navigate a multicultural future. sadly we lack the methodologies and conceptual/theoretical frameworks for this. My training in multicultural psychology has frankly been useless. I learned more in my undergraduate anthro course. Anthropology has not influenced psychology historically. To some degree this is due to differences in methodology and research processes. I hope the growth of open access journals will allow my field to benefit from the richness anthropology has to offer.


  12. Posted by o.w. on April 22, 2011 at 1:52 pm

    Thanks Chris! Just to say, I’m stuck working more hours than I can count this week, but will have an hour to respond properly over the weekend.


  13. Posted by Owen Wiltshire on April 30, 2011 at 3:29 pm

    Thanks again Chris. It’s great to get some feedback from people outside anthropology. I tried to push Open Access as much as possible among my professors at Concordia University, and on this blog, and I’d love to hear your thoughts as to how interdisciplinary access to research can benefit researchers. I took it as a given that making research accessible online would benefit researchers, but any concrete examples you might have would certainly help this project. Can you share more about the areas of anthro you found valuable for psychologists? Any particular articles you would recommend? How did you go about finding them? (class readings, or are they Open Access articles found online?). Do you think Open Access is really the key to promoting the kind of interdisciplinary engagements you are talking about?

    I figure most psychology departments in Canada and the States have had pretty reasonable access to anthropology material. I just wonder if it is a question of accessibility, or more that they simply didn’t want to incorporate what anthropologists were writing (for various reasons, aka, not relevant, disciplinary “turf wars”, etc). (yes I’m a skeptic! but also eternally optimistic.)

    Thanks again,


  14. Looking at the current offering of Open Educational Resources in anthropology, sounds like we’re poor relatives when it comes to making things open.


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