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Department of Anthropology pres.

CANCELED: The Michigan Anthropology Colloquia Series: "The Breakup 2.1: The Ten Year Update"

Ilana Gershon, Ruth N. Hall Professor, Anthropology, Indiana University Bloomington

"Since 2007-2008, American undergraduates’ media ecology has changed – Facebook no longer looms as large in undergraduates’ daily media use, instead they tend to turn to Snapchat, Twitter, and Instagram more frequently. Yet this, it turns out, is not a difference that makes a difference when people break up with each other. The similarities in people’s breakup practices between 2008 and 2018 reveal that, regardless of what social media is used, American undergraduates turn to media in moments of breakup as ways to manage three complicated aspects of ending a relationship: untangling all the ways in which people signal intertwined lives, deciphering the quotidian unknowable of another person’s mind, and trying to control who knows what when. At the same time, there has been a degree of conventionalization around phatic connections, visible in a new set of terms – ghosting, sliding into DM, leaving someone on read -- and the accompanying increasingly common array of practices. In short, this talk explores what insights about stabilization and media change can one glean from interviewing US undergraduates about their mediated breakup practices every ten years."

The Michigan Anthropology Colloquia Series presents speakers on current topics in the field of anthropology

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