Virtual Society?

the social science of electronic technologies


Professor Penny Harvey

Professor Penny Harvey
Department of Social Anthropology
University of Manchester
Roscoe Building
Brunswick Street
Manchester M13 9PL
+44 (0)161 275 3993


Penny Harvey (Social contexts of Virtual Manchester) is Professor in Social Anthropology at the University of Manchester. Her work on "social contexts of virtual Manchester" involves an ethnographic study of the social and cultural dynamics of technological innovation, with a particular interest in the cultural understandings that motivate attitudes and practices around electronic technologies. This work on technology is related to longer term research into the objectification of relationships and skills, on how people attribute meaning to things, and on the social and political understandings that are implied in such practice. The work on technology is thus approached as an aspect of more general interests in practices of power, communication, and identity. In relation to these topics she has published on race, gender, violence and the nation state with reference to the Peruvian Andes. Here her work has focused on the relationships between elite cultures and local practices in relation to issues of marginality and she is currently finishing a manuscript on bilingual experience which explicitly draws out the relationship between local practices of power in the Southern Peruvian Andes and the wider political histories which contextualise such practices. In addition she has a strong interest in research methods and has co-authored a book on this subject Researching Language: Issues of Power and Method (1992, Routledge); see also 'Culture and Context: the effects of visibility (in R. Dilley (ed), The Problem of Context, Berghahn, in press).

Other recent publications include Hybrids of Modernity: anthropology, the nation state and the universal exhibition (London, Routledge, 1996); 'Technology as Skilled Practice: approaches from Anthropology, Psychology and History' (guest editor and introduction to a special edition of Social Analysis, 1997, 47:1); 'Technology and Culture in Expo `92' (in S. Macdonald (ed), The Politics of Display, Routledge, 1997). Publications include 'Peruvian Independence Day: Ritual, Memory and the Erasure of Narrative' (in R. Howard- Malverde (ed), Creating Context in Andean Cultures, OUP, 1997); 'El poder seductor de la violencia y de la desigualdad' (in A. Isla (ed), Identity and Terror in Latin America, Sevilla, in press); Sex & Violence: issues in representation and experience (edited, with P. Gow, Routledge, 1994); 'Feminism and Anthropology' (in S. Jackson & J. Jones (eds), Contemporary Feminist Theories, Macmillan, 1998); 'Die Geschlechtliche Konstitution Von Gewalt: Eine vergleichende Studie uber Geschlecht und Gewalt' (Gendering Violence: The Comparative Study of Sex and Violence) (in Kolner Zeitschrift fur Soziologie und Sozialpsychologie, 1997); 'Bulimia and Force Feeding: Contrasting Techniques of Revealing the Self' (in Renaissance and Modern Studies, 1996).

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