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Digital Primitives: The Anthropology of Social

#sxsw #linganthro

From the beginning, the Internet has allowed patients and caregivers to create online communities that provide something offline communities cannot. In the case of rare genetic disorders, it is a chance to connect with others who know what you are facing; in the case of debilitating disease, a chance to talk openly with others who know what it is like to live in an able-bodied society. The same way that deaf communities sprung up throughout the world, online communities lack formal institutional structures, and come in a number of shapes and sizes, with different cultural norms, interactional rules, and languages. Anthropology and linguistics, as sciences focusing on society and communication, are ideally suited to unpack and understand these communities. We explore real-world examples of online health-related communities, the belief structures of groups, the fault-lines that exist, and what these analyses tell us about the real-world needs and experiences of community members.


Brad Davidson GM Behavioral Insights Ogilvy Commonhealth Behavioral Insights

Brad has been studying medical culture for over 20 years. He received his doctorate in linguistics from Stanford University in 1998, examining the experiences and processes in place for multilingual patients in a large public hospital, and since then he has focused on doctor-patient dialogue and medical anthropology in numerous settings, including hospitals, multicultural clinics, and patient's homes. Brad and his team at Ogilvy CommonHealth have been exploring the intersection of medical discourse analysis and digital anthropology for the past 4 years. Brad is currently running the Insights & Analytics group at OCH, where he directs physician-patient dialogue studies and works to improve the patient experience in multiple disease states. His biggest hope, at the moment, is to return medical practice to a relational experience, rather than the current transactional one.

Rob Malouf Associate Professor San Diego State University

Prof. Malouf earned a BA in computer science and linguistics from SUNY Buffalo and a PhD in linguistics from Stanford University. He has taught at Stanford, UC Berkeley, University of Groningen, and CU Boulder, and is currently an associate professor in the Department of Linguistics and Asian/Middle Eastern Languages at San Diego State University. He has also also work extensive as a consultant with Ogilvy CommonHeath in online discourse analysis and text mining. His research focuses on the use of statistical and computational modeling to help understand language as a complex system. Specifically, his work looks at how emergent patterns in language arise through the interactions of many individual language users, both in the real-world and on-line domains.