This pathbreaking book is the first to provide a rigorous and comprehensive examination of Internet culture and consumption. A rich ethnography of Internet use, the book offers a sustained account not just of being online, but of the social, political and cultural contexts which account for the contemporary Internet experience. From cybercafes to businesses, from middle class houses to squatters settlements, from the political economy of Internet provision to the development of ecommerce, the authors have gathered a wealth of material based on fieldwork in Trinidad. Looking at the full range of Internet media -- including websites, email and chat -- the book brings out unforeseen consequences and contradictions in areas as varied as personal relations, commerce, nationalism, sex and religion. This is the first book-length treatment of the impact of the Internet on a particular region. By focusing on one place, it demonstrates the potential for a comprehensive approach to new media. It points to the future direction of Internet research, proposing a detailed agenda for comparative ethnographic study of the cultural significance and effects of the Internet in modern society. Clearly written for the non-specialist reader, it offers a detailed account of the complex integration between on-line and off-line worlds. An innovative tie-in with the book's own website provides copious illustrations amounting to over 2,000 web-pages that bring the material right to your computer.
'Essentially thrilling ... this is the best piece of research on social uses of the internet that I have come across.' The Independent 'Now a remarkable new book has raised the discussion to a new level.' The Observer 'The book is impressive, well argued and written ... Indeed, this book is innovative and I would suggest that it is essential reading for all students and researchers examining the relationship between new internet technologies and society.' Sociology 'Represents not only an important contribution to the proliferation of writings about the Internet, but also a timely lesson in the practice of ethnography ... To use ethnography to such effect in studying this phenomenon provides a forceful argument for the role of anthropologists in understanding contemporary processes ... In imagining the Internet in this way, and Slater not only make an ethnographic study of the Internet possible, but also suggest a new avenue for theorizing it.' Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute ' I found The Internet:An Ethnographic Approach to be a valuable contribution ... a well-considered examination of the complex nature of the Internet'. Environment and Planning B:Planning and Design,2001 'A true gem, which I recommend to anyone who has ever spent any time on the information superhighway.' THES 'This valuable study is probably the first of many that will show how the internet is actually used in various cultures.' Future Survey 'This work provides a comprehensive analysis of the way Trinidadians engage with the Internet.' Education, Communication and Information 'Slater and Miller have been able to obtain and master very rich materials on a subject of great importance and interpret them in a pertinent way. ... This work, which shows the [internet's] impact on a given region, will help each of us to familiarise ourselves with the rudiments of it.' L'Homme 'This is easily one of the best ethnographic studies of Internet usage...This book can be recommended with enthusiasm.' The Australian Journal of Anthropology