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Virtual anthropology article

23 October, 2007

Just came across this article on so-called “virtual anthropology”. It provides, I think, a good overview of the impetus pushing market researchers and others towards anthropological methods, which they self-consciously label as “anthropology lite”.

What I found interesting about the article was the connection it made between the emergence of “ethnography” as a corporate technique and the “long tail” phenomenon — the transformation from mass markets to much more actively consumer defined niche marklets. In this sort of world, closely connected to the Web 2.0 phenomenon, is the idea of user-produced content. A more nuanced way of understanding the market, or rather the multiplicity of micro-markets, is needed. So along comes anthropology, which specialises in working with small scale communities and finding out how people make meaning of the world from living and working with them.

I think I have some problems with this but I’ll have to save further discussion for another day.

VIRTUAL ANTHROPOLOGY | An emerging consumer trend and related new business ideas

Jovan Maud

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