Nthropology of kinship: How do social network sites impact upon kinship and other relationships?
OUTLINE OF PAPER
Talk about the formation of communities using the book Imagined communitiesby Benadict Anderson .. here we can mention the formation of a new type of community, or lets say a Modern communitywhere their are no boundaries, no nation states, but a place where we you choose the community you feel you most belong too.
In the past communications traditionally were far more provisional and territorial Pippa Norris and Ronald Inglehart, Cosmopolitan Communications: Cultural Diversity in a Globalized World (Communications, Society and Politics), Cambridge University Press, August 2009
I want to also mention the whole idea of Virtual vs Real debate. what do we consider virtual, is the virtual the new reality. or are they separated? Boellstorf explains it quiet nicely in his book coming of age in the second world”. Here we can also see the emergence of Digital anthropologyas new study of anthropology and we can mention this point in the conclusion perhaps on the new shapes that anthropology is heading towards especially in concerning new forms of kinship etc.
Kinship: we create our own definition of who are family is, we can decide to add and not add people depending on whether we trust them, consider them family and so we go beyond the dimension of defining kinship as just blood relations, but people who have left great impact on our lives. Many people on my facebook page for instance, have their close friends or childhood friends as their sisters. or other friends as their cuz etc. But at the same time we can say they are not very serious about who they define as their kin, becomes what i realised that maybe 16 people off my friends have themselves married to a close friend, therefore they do not really show the Truthbut a manipulation of the what they actually feel.
I also believe that social networking sites have given many people a link and a new way of communicating with their extended family. Especially for immigrants working outside their own countries. in interviewing a housemaid she says that she has never ever been this close to her family, living with us for nearly 24 years, she used to write to her family letters and the letters were usually just send to her (close family) sisters or parent and therefore she lost communication with many of her family members. However once she started using facebook, she feels soo much closer to them and says Even in the philiphines i never see most of my family, because they travel and work everywhere, i have a niece in saudi arabia working as a nurse, my sister and my nieces are in america, because my niece became a nurse their and she just had a daughter (showing me the pic of her nieces daughter on facebook) i never saw my neice, and now i see her with her daughter.. i like facebook.. i like looking at the pictures of my family, looking at what they are doing”. Even when i came to london, my cuz sent me a message saying she lives here and im going to see her soon. This is just one case out of the many cases i realised while talking to other immigrant workers. therefore we can focus on how the social networking sites have increased this communication with the family, something they never really even had with their extended family in the philiphine as most of them have travelled abroad to work and gain a living. We live in a cosmopolitan world, where poeple need to travel to numerous countries to find a job and to work.
Another example is from a friend of mine from mauritania, hailing from a diplomatic family she never really have the chance to be with her family all together in one place, AS they have a big family. as a daughter of an ambassador she felt disconnected from her kin both physically and emotionally, as her international education and her interests made her feel different when she went to her family in mauritania. However after facebook, she mentioned to me how she felt very connected to all her cuzins and younger aunts as she started realising that they were not as traditional as she thought they were, but listened to the same songs, watched the same movies and through reading their personal information she realised that she learnt much more about them in a couple of hours than she did from the weeks she was them on her vacation. we tend to forget to ask these simple questions sometimes and the advantage of facebook is that it does it for us. Therefore this made her open up to them and bring her walls down which helped in reconnecting with her family.
we can see the positive impact of relationships within the extended family, however it also has a negative impacts withen the nuclear family. In many households most of the siblings stay on their computers (mostly on social networking sites) and therefore this causes less face to face interactions between the people living under the same roof. alot of people feel more comfortable being behind a computer screen whether its just browsing the internet, watching shows etc, but you can always see that a social networking site is always on in the background. so we can talk about how the nuclear family is affected because of these networking sites. i heard of many instances where people would congratulate or wish their siblinigs a happy birthday on facebook, instead of doing it face to face, or even calling them. They believe that its less personal being on facebook.
Face to face interaction vs internet interactions and relationship
Coming of age in Second life Tom Boellstorf