Proseminar – Thomas Malaby

Digital Anthropology 

Games and Cultural Logic of Modernity

For T600 this Friday, Thomas Malaby visited from the University of Milwaukee‘s College of Letters and Sciences. He presented research from a book he recently authored on digital anthropology. His overall focus was to identify the intersection between the state of games and a culture. One of the primary concepts Malaby introduced was his idea of instrumental nonchalance. He developed the idea after spending some time in Greece. He explained that it was a cultural outlook exhibited by older individuals. This group would always remain unflappable despite what came their way with the hope that acting this way would make them more likely to get what they truly desired.

The second concept was techno liberalism. This concept highlighted a democratic idea that technology should be available to everyone without controls. Additionally, it included a motivation of a mastery of complex systems. One can see evidence of this phenomenon by looking at the success of and behaviors surrounding Blizzard’s World of Warcraft and Google’s I’m Feeling Lucky button. Specifically, the I’m Feeling Lucky button illustrates how some people feel confident enough in their search query mastery to click this button with the reservation that the returned website will be exactly what they are looking for.