UNESCO and LiiV Center for Digital Anthropology launch global partnership to advance field of digital anthropology
UNESCO and the LiiVTM Center for Digital Anthropology have launched a global partnership to advance the science of digital anthropology. The first phase of this partnership will be a four-year collaboration to build a global movement that unifies the academic discipline of digital anthropology and raises awareness of its power to create a more ethical, cohesive and empathetic society.
The launch event is scheduled for September 24 at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris, it will be crucial to get the work of the partnership in motion. The movement is responding to the rapid pace of digital transformation and its impact on all aspects of societies, cultures and people in the digital world. Digital Anthropology examines how technology and digital platforms such as Twitter, TikTok, Tinder, Google, Instagram, and YouTube are changing social dynamics, economies, and even entire nations, providing governments, educators, NGOs, and d ‘other valuable information about these phenomena.
The UNESCO partnership is the first step in the creation of the LiiV Center for Digital Anthropology, which will lead the process of unifying the conversation around the modernization of empathic mindsets and research methodologies of ethnography with the scale and precision of data science. The partnership will facilitate global academic programs, as well as research and technology initiatives to advance this innovative field in the public and private sectors.
A laboratory of ideas, UNESCO’s ambition is to answer major contemporary questions by using all the tools available to researchers. The LiiV Center for Digital Anthropology will provide a collaborative forum on digital anthropology as a core area of academic research and social transformation.
As digitization is transforming culture today in a world that is both globalized but also very divided, we certainly need political relevance to be placed in a context of cultures. The world is in urgent need of digital anthropology to make data more human and help leaders better understand the needs and experiences of people across the digital world. The world urgently needs digital anthropology to assess political and economic thinking with a fresh perspective, as we try to build a more just and sustainable world for tomorrow.
Gabriella Ramos, Assistant Director-General for Social and Human Sciences at UNESCO
The partnership advances UNESCO’s unique mission to ensure that all can live in dignity through international cooperation in the fields of education, science and culture, with the aim of making anthropology digital a dominant field that promises to help society, leaders and change makers understand modern humanity and what it means to be human in the digital world.
Digital anthropology is therefore concerned with the cultural study of groups of modern people as they navigate their physical and digital lives through the Internet and technology, as well as the socio-digital phenomena resulting from the massive use of devices. technological, such as portable devices, game consoles, all kinds of hardware, smartphones, etc.
This movement responds to urgent ethical needs in all societies and is deeply aligned with the continuation of UNESCO’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Achieving these goals requires stronger data systems that better reflect human needs, ensure individual privacy, and incorporate unstructured and qualitative information. This is a crucial first step in building a better ethical future for people and the planet.
We are delighted, honored and touched to begin this partnership together. This is a call to action, to get involved and to join the conversation. Bring your passion and what you’ve worked on to unify a global voice for digital anthropology. He then added: “We are delighted to partner with UNESCO to launch the field of digital anthropology and foster ethical, responsible and human rights-based practices in technologies and methods, including personal data protection and non-discriminatory algorithms.
James Ingram, CEO of LiiV
What is digital anthropology about?
- It builds bridges between people’s digital lives and the non-digital environment (holistic approach), and it is not limited to what is happening online.
- It showcases people’s voices. He favors qualitative data and humanistic explanation over quantitative data, but without neglecting the use of statistical tools for analysis.
- He has a multimedia approach. It considers the different digital (and non-digital) technologies used by human beings to understand their socio-cultural reality.
- It emphasizes the role of interactions between people rather than technology. Digital ethnography for example, unlike other methodologies (which usually involve the use of software), studies the nature of human interactions online.
Digital anthropology helps define “digital tribes” as groups of people who are not only physically united, but who share practices and customs that give them a sense of symbolic belonging. They don’t need physical space to consolidate. Rather, they arise from shared digital experiences (Cova & Cova, 2002).