Dr. Francine Barone, BA Hons 1st, PhD

Media Anthropologist & Ethnographer


I am an urban anthropologist and media ethnographer investigating the social and cultural impacts of technological change in the digital age. Broadly speaking, I study people and their relationships to machines and to each other by combining insights from cultural anthropology, sensory and cognitive anthropology, spatial theory, material culture, urban studies, social technology studies, HCI and UX design. My primary research interests are communication technologies, digital lifestyles, consumption, urban ethnography, and new media, including ethnographic approaches to the Internet, mobile phones and computing. My geographic specializations are the northern Mediterranean region and urban environments throughout Europe and North America.

My forthcoming book, Urban Firewalls, explores the impact of the internet, mobile phones and popular media in a diverse border city. Based on 15 months of fieldwork in Catalonia, Spain, it aims to advance anthropological theory and methodology for understanding daily digital interactions as part and parcel of the urban landscape in an increasingly media-saturated world. I strongly advocate an approach to the human engagement with technology that emphasizes heightened awareness to place, geography and locality. Both wired and wireless technologies are in many ways tethered to the ground, constrained by geography and delimited by borders. I therefore find that an urban ethnography of digital life is uniquely positioned to connect broad global media trends with micro-local histories.

Teaching, training and academic activities

I have taught on the undergraduate modules Computing for Anthropologists, Ethnicity and Nationalism, and Introduction to Social Anthropology. I support the innovative use of new technologies and multimedia in learning and teaching, including collaborative coursework, wikis, blogs, social networks, photo- and video-sharing. In addition to traditional classroom teaching, I enjoy exploring anthropological concepts and concerns through digital methodologies, web building and computer-aided research and embrace opening access to knowledge and education.

Further to my fieldwork, I have worked on several occasions as a research assistant to Prof. David Zeitlyn (University of Oxford) for projects focusing on blogs, digital archives, and new technologies in the developing world. I have also held web development and technical positions with the Department of Anthropology at the University of Kent; the Anthropological Index Online of the Royal Anthropological Institute; and the Human Relations Area Files at Yale University in New Haven, CT. I presently consult for HRAF at Yale in the areas of Social Media, User Engagement and User Experience (UX design).

In May 2009, I co-founded the Open Anthropology Cooperative, an online network of social researchers committed to fostering better public understanding of anthropology, with Prof. Keith Hart. Today, the site is the world's largest online community of anthropologists. Details of this ongoing public anthropology experiment can be found in our forthcoming publication, "The Open Anthropology Cooperative: towards an online public anthropology", in S. Pink and S. Abram (eds.) Media, Engagement and Anthropological Practice (Berghahn, 2015).

For a more detailed academic and employment history, please see my full CV.

Research Interests

Recent News and Publications

The results from my digital ethnographic research for the Gone Dark Project have been published in First Monday. Read it here.

HRAF's new website is getting a lot of attention. Check out some of the cross-cultural posts I've written for eHRAF Highlights.

In case you missed it, check out my review of Nick Dines' Tuff City: Urban Change and Contested Space in Central Naples at the Open Anthropology Cooperative Press.

I am presently preparing Urban Firewalls for publication. Learn more here.

For a complete list of publications, talks and conferences, see my full CV.

Curriculum Vitae


My Web Content

Analog/Digital (personal blog)
Urban Firewalls
Academia.edu page
Google Scholar

Recent News

The Gone Dark Project report has been published.

Read about my IUAES 2014 panel here.

Recommended Tools

The Gimp
VLC Media Player


[ICQ] 577749190

* This email address is for employment and academic inquiries only. If you have a query pertaining to the OAC, please log in to the network to send me a message via Ning.

Translate this page