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Bridging the Digital Publishing Divide

Anthropological insights

In: Logos
Author:
Hal Robinson
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Abstract

An anthropological view of the publishing industry sees it as a culture with its own assumptions and patterns, in which publishing companies are macro-communities associated with micro-communities of readers. Anthropology sees ‘digital culture’ in a comparable way. Awareness of the cultural characteristics of publishing as a culture and of digital culture can turn their differences into synergies that benefit both. Examples from anthropological research and from publishing show that some processes are comparable. One is the process in which material value is transformed into cultural value, with the benefit of increasing the cohesion of a community. Another occurs when communities interlink their cultural processes in cultural–commercial ecosystems, to mutual benefit. Anthropological insights suggest how strategies, at project level and at the level of international cooperation, can bridge the cultural divide between traditional publishing values and digital opportunities and so help businesses survive and succeed in times of change.

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