“DIGITIZED GRAMMARS: CONTEXTS OF NARRATIVE CONSTRUCTION IN COMPUTER-MEDIATED COMMUNICATION.”

Saturday, November 21, 2015: 1:45 PM-3:30 PM

102 (Colorado Convention Center)

This session proposes an examination of digitized grammars: the differing sets of linguistic, visual, and sound cues which act as indicators for meaning construction during computer-mediated communication (CMC). Depending upon the Internet platform and the medium used, digitized grammars may consist of structures that are conventional in face-to-face encounters, or they may be idiosyncrasies of a particular audience and technology. The members of this session chronicle a plethora of potential message forms. Investigating multiple Internet platforms is necessary: digital communication connects people through an increasingly diverse set of media. Platforms contain not only images, text, and response; they also include videos, links to other platforms, biographical information, backlogs of prior entries, and music. The potential recombination of information available through Internet technologies is mindboggling. These new groupPMgs of materials require an analysis which does not simply account for their existence; how symbols are deployed and how meaning-making is accomplished remain at the core of identity, memory, and knowledge in a computer-filled life. At stake in contemporary self-digitalization is the requirement for developing new modes of thinking about people, knowledge, social exchange and interaction. In concert with the theme of oscillating between the familiar and the strange, this session highlights the transnational nature of Internet platforms, examining the use of multiple websites, chat rooms, and social networks by different communities. Beginning with the familiar this session examines the use of Facebook by taking the concept of digitized grammars as the affective performances and registers utilized by Turkish-American Muslim women for both phatic connection and information dissemination. The discussion of Facebook, a well-known platform, will be followed by two little-known platforms: the anonymous chat service of Omegle.com, and the creation and exchange of “porn music videos,” or PMV, started asynchronously in North America, North Africa, and Europe. Using Omegle’s anonymity as a locus for the emergence of ‘troll’ personas—unique elements of humor created at another user’s expense—research on Omegle.com points to misrecognition as an architecture which renders explicit a multiplicity of narrative frames in online interaction. Alterior to trolling personas are the creators of PMVs in the roles of connoisseur and provocateur, delineating a digitized grammars function as affordances: the skill sets necessary to deploy an object in multiple ways [in the case study, for the given purpose of creating and appreciating mimetic porno-art]. Examining homophonic pronunciation as a communicative deictic, digitized grammars can be a means to explore identity and temporality for online social interactions within multi-player role-playing games in South Korea. Finally, returning to the familiar setting of YouTube under the unfamiliar trope of English speaking youth discussing formidable topics among themselves. “Vines,” fifteen to thirty second videos which are strung together to make longer videos, are tiny narratives depicting thoughts on race, gender, sexuality, and stereotypes. In this session digitized grammars are demonstrated to operate as both the cues which provide the audience with communicative and narrative expectations, but also mimetic reception of redeployed audio and visual symbols.

This session would be of particular interest to:
Practicing and Applied Anthropologists, Students

Organizers:  Meghan Sarah Fidler (Southern Illinois University, Carbondale)

Chairs:  Meghan Sarah Fidler (Southern Illinois University, Carbondale)

Discussants:  Marc L Moskowitz (University of South Carolina)

1:45 PM
“Digitized Affective Grammars: Performing the Pious Self on Facebook Among a Group of Young Turkish-American Women.”
Aslihan Akkaya (Florida International University)

2:00 PM
Who’s There? Chronotope and Character in Online Chat
Giovanni Ricci (University of Chicago)

2:15 PM
Beats Make That ***** Go: Affinities, Literacies, and Modalities
Aziz Fatnassi (Indiana University, Department of Anthropology)

2:30 PM
“100”: Signaling Technologies and Strategies in Social Situations Across the Online/Offline Gap
Stephen C Rea (Bucknell University)

2:45 PM
Small Talk, Tiny Stories: Youth Discussions of Race, Gender, Stereotypes and Nonsense Using Vines
Meghan Sarah Fidler (Southern Illinois University, Carbondale)

3:00 PM
Discussant
Marc L Moskowitz (University of South Carolina)

3:15 PM
Discussion

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