Mysteries reside in the humblest, everyday things: collaborative anthropology in the digital age

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Abstract

MyStreet is an internet-based collaborative anthropology research project combining digital recording, Google maps and visual-ethnographic research. It aims to generate a space for a series of ‘minor’ discourses in which ‘venatic’ evidence (Carlo Ginzburg) holds sway. I examine this project and its preliminary outcomes as a revival of the spirit of Mass Observation, a British social movement of the 1930s. Though originally rejected by the Anthropological academy, Mass Observation's extraordinary vision of a democratic ‘science of ourselves’, to be realised through the creation of a popular anthropology of everyday life, remains as relevant today as it was in 1937.

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