Drew Cogbill | Thesis Blog

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Archive for the ‘anthropology’ tag

No Shoes No Payless

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This sign:

is on the front of this store:


I don’t know if this is a legitimate Payless or not, but they do have a nice selection of shoes. Beyond it being hilarious that you are not allowed into a store to buy shoes if you don’t already own a pair, I think there are deeper implications. In a way, this sign emphasizes how hard it can be to break out of a cycle of poverty to join the consumption class.

Written by drewcogbill

July 26th, 2008 at 7:24 pm

Displays of wealth

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In interviews and conversations, lots of people have told me about younger kids (ages 7-14) carrying around cell phones just to look cool.  In what I’ve seen, kids are using the phones as still and video cameras, as well as a video and music player.  I’ve seen songs transferred via bluetooth and groups of people crowded around a cell phone screen watching a music video.  Below is Shewan with his friends looking at his red Razr phone, which he brought to one of the summer camps held at schools in western Belize my group is running.  His aunt, who lives in the States, sent it to him as a present.

I saw the guy below in the blue tshirt walking in the center of San Ignacio, and though the picture does it no justice, he had tucked the earbuds of his iPod behind his ears though he wasn’t listening to music.  (**Edit 28 August 2008 - I saw this same things several more times during the rest of my time in Belize.)

Written by drewcogbill

July 25th, 2008 at 5:10 pm

“Anthropology’s Technology-driven Renaissance”

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Anthropology’s Technology-driven Renaissance, a article for PC World by Ken Banks of kiwanja.net, emphasizes the importance of observation and understanding of human behavior within a particular context (anthropology) in development design.  This importance certainly extends to design in general.

This is the method I’m trying to employ in my process at the moment.  In talking to Colleen, she recommended that I think of mapping and observation, esentially anthropological research and analysis, as prototypes and to not be so concerned with my end product.  I’m going to try and actively pursue such activities in my remaining time in Belize.

“In order for the mobile phone to reach its full potential, we’re going to need to understand what people in developing countries need from their mobile devices and how they can be applied in a way that positively impacts their lives. Sounds like the perfect job for an anthropologist to me.”

Written by drewcogbill

July 17th, 2008 at 4:43 pm