Sysoeva M. E. Internet as a Field: An Analysis of Ubykh Online Communities

M. Sysoeva - Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology of the Russian Academy of Sciences Moscow, Russian Federation
ORCID: 0000-0002-0553-4998
E-mail: mariasysoeva.kubsu@gmail.com

 

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ABSTRACT. Today, Facebook has become a preferred and popular social network where the descendants of Ubykhs, as well as activists of the Ubykh revival movement, can declare themselves. The article provides an example of how analyzing Facebook becomes an important complement to the “classical” ethnographic studies of the Ubykh community, since, besides its communicative and socializing functions, Facebook is also a space for constructing ethnicity. The author focuses on this social network not only as the most popular one in the world in terms of the number of registered users, but also as the main platform for Ubykh groups. As of June 2021, about thirty Ubykh communities of both open and closed types and differening in numbers of users and activity degrees are registered on Facebook. According to the purposes of creation and the published content, the author distinguishes five types of them: (1) patrimonial communities; (2) groups of fellow villagers; (3) Ubykh language revival communities; (4) groups devoted to the Ubykh history and culture; and (5) academic groups. Despite the internal peculiarities of these Ubykh groups, the main goal of the communities under consideration is to consolidate the participants. In fact, the presence of such a platform creates effective tools for maintaining social ties and a space of constant communication not tied to a physical location, while frequent appeals to the Ubykh heritage contribute to the creation of an “imaginary” ethnic community in the Facebook space.

 

KEYWORDS: Ubykh, Facebook, Internet, digital anthropology

 

DOI 10.31250/2618-8600-2021-3(13)-171-190
УДК 316.772.5:39

 

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