Contemporary Comparative Anthropology – The Why We Post Project

Daniel Miller, Elisabetta Costa, Laura Haapio-Kirk, Nell Haynes, Jolynna Sinanan, McDonald Tom, Razvan Nicolescu, Juliano Spyer, Shriram Venkatraman, Xinyuan Wang

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

    2 Citations (Scopus)


    This paper confronts the disparity between a tradition that has defined anthropology as a comparative discipline and the practices which increasingly embrace cultural relativism and the uniqueness of each fieldsite. It suggests that it is possible to resolve this dilemma, through creating a vertical structure that complements the horizontal task of comparison across fieldsites. This vertical structure is composed of different methods of dissemination which make explicit a series of steps from a baseline of popular dissemination which stresses the uniqueness of individuals, through books and journal articles with increasing degrees of generalisation and comparison. Following this structure leads us up through analysis to the creation and employment of theory. This allows us to make comparisons and generalisations without sacrificing our assertion of specificity and uniqueness. We illustrate this argument though a recent nine-field site comparison of the use and consequences of social media in a project called ‘Why We Post.’
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)283-300
    Number of pages18
    Issue number2
    Early online date8-Nov-2017
    Publication statusPublished - 15-Mar-2019


    • Comparative anthropology
    • theory
    • social media
    • dissemination
    • digital anthropology

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