Panel no. 43 - Revisiting the City: Anthropological Legacies, Urbanity, and the Digital


Title Mr First name Christian Last name Ritter
Institution Tallinn University City Tallinn Country EE


Title Dr First name Regev Last name Nathansohn
Institution name Sapir Academic College City Haifa Country IL


Panel title

Revisiting the City: Anthropological Legacies, Urbanity, and the Digital

Panel abstract

This panel explores the interplay between digital technologies, urban neighborhoods, and communities. The mobile phone and other digital technologies have deeply transformed the ways in which cities are experienced (Pink and Leder Mackley 2013). At the same time, urban actors take part in developing digital technologies and redefining their use. Drawing on perspectives from media and urban anthropology, the main aim of this panel is to trace the social relationships behind digital and urban processes. Sociotechnical innovations, such as the mobile phone and "smart" infrastructures, make new phenomenologies of public life in urban contexts necessary. In addition to providing information on the go, mobile phones can "know" their users' geographical position and other features (Hjorth et al. 2017), while constantly being reconfigured according to different, sometimes conflicting, interests. Creating a forum for anthropological scholars from the Global South and Global North, this panel invites ethnographic accounts of the digitization of or in urbanity, methodological papers on digital ethnographies of the city, and theoretical contributions to urban change in the digital age. Drawing on the anthropological tradition of studying the role of cultural swirls in innovation processes (Hannerz 1992, Wilf 2019), ethnography can provide new understandings of digital technologies in cityscapes. The proliferation of the digital in everyday life raises numerous questions about urban spatiality, privacy, and surveillance. How are new forms of sociality created in "smart" cities? What technological imaginaries shape urban planning? How are digital technologies reappropriated in urban areas? How is the datafication of urban life locally negotiated?

IUAES Commission