Anthropology and the New Technologies of Communication:

Brian Keith Axel

This article is a set of reflections on how a modern linguistic ideology of communication produces a fundamental misrecognition of the formation of the modern liberal subject as a naturally communicating subject. I explore the complex features of this misrecognition as a legacy of Cold War procedures of knowledge production about communication and technology to suggest that ethnographies of new technologies of communication unwittingly proliferate presumptions about the ontological integrity of the human prior to communication and prior to the advent of technologies of communication. This dilemma offers an alternative point of departure for the study of new technologies of communication in pursuit of a renewed, critical investigation into the circulation of modern cultural forms of intelligibility.

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