Member Profile

Patricia G. Lange

Associate Professor, California College of the Arts

Editor-at-Large, Platypus: The CASTAC Blog

Research Interests

About Patricia G.

Patricia G. Lange is an Anthropologist and Associate Professor of Critical Studies (undergraduate program) and Visual & Critical Studies (graduate program) at California College of the Arts in San Francisco, California. Her work focuses on technical identity performance and use of video to express the self and civically engage. She was the Inaugural Editor and a Co-Founder of the Platypus blog. Her new book is called Thanks for Watching: An Anthropological Study of Video Sharing on YouTube (University Press of Colorado, 2019). She is also the author of Kids on YouTube: Technical Identities and Digital Literacies (Routledge, 2014). In addition, she produced and directed the film Hey Watch This! Sharing the Self Through Media (2013) which provides a diachronic look at the rise and fall of YouTube as a social media site. Her website is: patriciaglange.org.

Contact

Email

Publications

Books

Thanks for Watching : An Anthropological Study of Video Sharing on YouTube

Patricia Lange | University Press of Colorado (2019) | ISBN: 9781607329473

YouTube hosts one billion visitors monthly and sees more than 400 hours of video uploaded every minute. In Thanks for Watching, Patricia G. Lange offers an anthropological perspective on this heavily mediated social environment by analyzing videos and the emotions that motivate sharing them. She demonstrates how core concepts from anthropology--participant-observation, reciprocity, and community--apply to sociality on YouTube. Lange's book reconceptualizes and updates these concepts for video-sharing cultures.

Lange draws on 152 interviews with YouTube participants at gatherings throughout the United States, content analyses of more than 300 videos, observations of interactions on and off the site, and participant-observation. She documents how the introduction of monetization options impacted perceived opportunities for open sharing and creative exploration of personal and social messages. Lange's book provides new insight into patterns of digital migration, YouTube's influence on off-site interactions, and the emotional impact of losing control over images. The book also debunks traditional myths about online interaction, such as the supposed online/offline binary, the notion that anonymity always degrades public discourse, and the popular characterization of online participants as over-sharing narcissists.

YouTubers' experiences illustrate fascinating hybrid forms of contemporary sociality that are neither purely mediated nor sufficient when conducted only in person. Combining intensive ethnography, analysis of video artifacts, and Lange's personal vlogging experiences, the book explores how YouTubers are creating a posthuman collective characterized by interaction, support, and controversy. In analyzing the tensions between YouTubers' idealistic goals of sociality and the site's need for monetization, Thanks for Watching makes crucial contributions to cultural anthropology, digital ethnography, science and technology studies, new media studies, communication, interaction design, and posthumanism.

Kids on YouTube : Technical Identities and Digital Literacies

Patricia G Lange | Left Coast Press (2014) | ISBN: 1611329361

The mall is so old school—these days kids are hanging out on YouTube, and depending on whom you ask, they're either forging the digital frontier or frittering away their childhoods in anti-intellectual solipsism. Kids on YouTube cuts through the hype, going behind the scenes to understand kids' everyday engagement with new media. Debunking the stereotype of the self-taught computer whiz, new media scholar and filmmaker Patricia G. Lange describes the collaborative social networks kids use to negotiate identity and develop digital literacy on the 'Tube. Her long-term ethnographic studies also cover peer-based and family-driven video-making dynamics, girl geeks, civic engagement, and representational ethics. This book makes key contributions to new media studies, communication, science and technology studies, digital anthropology, and informal education.

Articles

Typing your way to technical identity

Patricia G. Lange (2016) | Pragmatics 25(4): 553-572 | http://dx.doi.org/10.1075/prag.25.4.04lan

Vlogging Toward Digital Literacy

Patricia G. Lange (2015) | Biography 38(2): 297-302 | http://dx.doi.org/10.1353/bio.2015.0024

Commenting on YouTube rants: Perceptions of inappropriateness or civic engagement?

Patricia G. Lange (2014) | Journal of Pragmatics 73: 53-65 | http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.pragma.2014.07.004

What is your claim to flame?

Patricia G. Lange (2013) | First Monday 11(9) | http://dx.doi.org/10.5210/fm.v11i9.1393

Video-mediated nostalgia and the aesthetics of technical competencies

Patricia G Lange (2011) | Visual Communication 10(1): 25-44 | http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1470357210389533

Learning Real-Life Lessons From Online Games

Patricia G. Lange (2010) | Games and Culture 6(1): 17-37 | http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1555412010377320

Contributions to Platypus: The CASTAC Blog

View all of Patricia G.'s posts on Platypus: The CASTAC Blog.

Portending the Posthuman on YouTube

During this most spooky time of year, it is apropos to explore our transmogrification into posthumanity—a concept that instills fear in the hearts of many scholars, including many anthropologists, who are especially afraid that exploring this terrain precipitates the end of their discipline. For humanities studies scholar Rosi Braidotti (2013: 5), there is an “undeniably gloomy connotation to the posthuman condition, especially in relation to genealogies of critical thought.” In her view, our lack of theorization of posthuman subjectivity has brought us into a “zombified landscape of repetition without difference and lingering melancholia” (Braidotti 2013: 5). To be honest, I share numerous concerns about posthumanist claims and their implications. However, whether widespread posthuman-phobia is warranted remains to be explored. (more…)

Remembering David Hakken

This week, the CASTAC community received the sad news that Professor David Hakken had passed away. Hakken was Director of the Social Informatics Program at The University of Indiana. Trained as an anthropologist, Hakken conducted research at the intersection of ethnography and cyberspace. He was concerned about how digital technologies and culture are continually co-constructive. His prolific career included publication of a recent book co-authored with Maurizio Teli and Barbara Andrews entitled, Beyond Capital: Values, Commons, Computing, and the Search for a Viable Future (Routledge, 2015). Hakken presciently focused on critical areas emerging at the intersection of digital anthropology and science and technology studies.

The outpouring on social media from his colleagues and former students has been truly touching and shows the depth of his impact on the community. Hakken was a principal founding member of CASTAC. As a pioneer in anthropological studies of computing in the early 1990s, Hakken initiated action on creating a committee devoted to particular concerns of anthropologists in science and technology studies. He was also a friend to the CASTAC Blog. He helped lend our fledgling endeavor gravitas by writing posts and graciously being interviewed. Please join me in honoring his life and work by enjoying this gem from the Platypus vault, which originally appeared on the blog in January 2013. I was honored to have the opportunity to interview him and hear more about his big ideas on big data. I first met David at a CASTAC summer conference (remember those?) nearly twenty years ago. Over the years, I personally benefited from his wise mentoring and vibrant disposition. I was deeply saddened to hear of his passing.

He will be greatly  missed.

Colleagues who would like to share public remembrances about David for a longer tribute post should contact the editor, Jordan Kraemer.

Patricia G. Lange
May 6, 2016 (more…)

Farewell (But Not Good-Bye)!

When Jennifer Cool, Jordan Kraemer and I co-founded this blog we began on a web page and a prayer, or if you prefer, an incantation. Drawing on an “if you build it, they will come” inspiration, we felt that starting a blog would be a great way to encourage more conversation about science and technology studies. As members of CASTAC, the Committee on the Anthropology of Science, Technology and Computing, we felt excited about the organization’s goals, and we sought ways to connect to the other members of the group who chose to hang their hat in this corner of the American Anthropological Association.

We launched with a “start-up” mentality in which content was king. Our goal was to bring in guest authors while also sharing our work. Our initial goals were modest: as long as we could consistently put up one interesting post per week, we were happy. I was excited to see our blog grow and eventually garner several hundred views a month. Going forward, we realized we would need to create a sustainable model to expand the blog’s content and reach, and thus the idea of an Associate Editing team was born. I crafted a structure roughly modeled after publication organizations in which Associate Editors (AEs) managed particular “beats” or specific topic areas of interest. The idea was to encourage AEs to contribute posts about their own research as well as solicit exciting up-to-date content from other CASTAC members, researchers, and practitioners engaged in projects conducted within the auspices of the anthropology and sociology of science, technology, and computing. (more…)