Techno-anthropology and the digital natives

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The ethnographic field guide was a short-lived genre in the annals of anthropology. In this chapter I experimentally attempt to revive it. The original guides provided the ethnographer with a set of practical pointers on how to organise fieldwork, set up camp, maintain relations, and negotiate access in a particular geographical region of the world. The present field guide attempts to do so while entertaining (and eventually discarding) the idea that the World Wide Web has similar areal qualities and constitutes a field in which the techno-anthropologist can go to do work. It is not a straightforward analogy, and although a guide turns out to be somewhat impossible the attempt at writing it casts of all kinds of interesting contradictions. What is highlighted in the process is that the Web is distinctly spatial in ways that must be taken seriously, that it is home to a very special breed of digital natives, and that maintaining relations with these natives presents a challenge of its own. I argue that these challenges must be taken seriously, and that techno-anthropology could be ideally suited to do just that.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationWhat is Techno-Anthropology?
EditorsTom Børsen, Lars Botin
Place of PublicationAalborg
PublisherAalborg Universitetsforlag
Publication date2013
ISBN (Electronic)978-87-7112-123-0
Publication statusPublished - 2013
SeriesSerie om Lærings-, forandrings- og organisationsudviklingsprocesser/Series in Transformational Studies



  • Digital Methods
  • Ethnography
  • Web 2.0
  • techno-anthropology

Cite this

Munk, A. K. (2013). Techno-anthropology and the digital natives. In T. Børsen, & L. Botin (Eds.), What is Techno-Anthropology? (pp. 287-310). Aalborg Universitetsforlag. Serie om Lærings-, forandrings- og organisationsudviklingsprocesser/Series in Transformational Studies, No. 1, Vol.. 2