Media anthropology: studying the life of media consumers through audience ethnography

Lily El Ferawati Rofil
2020 Informasi  
The growing popularity of audience ethnography captivates global anthropologists to shift their research interest from traditional culture to popular culture, observing the life of audience around media production. This phenomenon becomes the genesis of media anthropology school of thought which is popular among scholars in both anthropology and media/cultural studies. Conceptually, media anthropology can be defined as an interdisciplinary field which acknowledges mass media consumption and
more » ... consumption and production as an aspect that construct human day-to-day lives and culture (Askew, 2002; Osorio, 2005; Spitulnik, 1993) . However, the term "media anthropology" itself has not been widely recognized. Debra Spitulnik (1993) doubts the acceptance of "anthropology of mass media" as a standalone field among anthropologists. Yet, she argues that there exists relations between mass media, society and culture and that is the intersection of anthropology, sociology, and mass media research where the question about the implications of mass media for fundamental social and cultural change becomes central (Spitulnik, 1993: 307). John Postill (2005) , an anthropologist who studied the influence of media to national identity of an indigenous society in Malaysia, names "media anthropology" as a mere research area in ethnological studies. Considering the increasing research interest in mass media culture, Francisco Osorio proposes "mass media anthropology" as a scholarly discipline which refers to "the field within anthropology that studies the way in which culture shapes society through the mass media" (Osorio, 2005: 36). As a branch in anthropology, media anthropology has contributed to the discipline in three areas (Peterson, 2003) . First, media anthropologists produce thick ethnographies just like other cultural anthropologists. Second, media anthropology has shifted anthropological work from Europe and North America to global South. Third, the scholars in media anthropology
doi:10.21831/informasi.v49i2.29551 fatcat:o6cit2vfnvdcrot5jw5mlekfsq