My working paper opens for discussion tomorrow on the Media Anthropology Network mailing list. You can download it here. The e-seminar is conducted via email and is free and open to anyone with a genuine interest in the anthropology of media. More info and how to join can be found here.
Contrary to pervading assumptions that local traditions will naturally be displaced in favor of new media environments, this paper suggests that evolving leisure practices on the Internet are fundamentally shaped by existing, offline (face-to-face) patterns of interaction. It is widely believed that new media have the potential to eradicate traditional forms of leisure by altering how we interact and communicate at a global level in light of ubiquitous and placeless connectivity. However, through a case study of youth practices on the photo-sharing website Fotolog, I intend to show that remnants of offline leisure patterns long since recognized as on the decline in light of new media landscapes can be given renewed life online, indicating that the potentially transformative power of the web must be situated within specific socio-cultural contexts of offline life. Based on data collected from 15 months of ethnographic fieldwork in the Catalan city of Figueres, Spain, I outline the blueprints of traditional leisure practices in a local setting to understand aspects of change and continuity as reflected in developing web-based activities.