'Maxmod' is an open-research-project in sociocultural anthropology. At its core stands long-lasting 'thick participation' in an online-community. The chosen community condensates around the shared interest in, and practice of modifying commercial computergame-software, particularly the games ↵Max Payne, ↵Max Payne 2, and ↵Alan Wake. The project's first goal is to describe and understand the community's social structure, the gamemodders' cultural actions and artefacts, and most importantly, their explicit and tacit cultural knowledge. It is assumed that the paradigm of 'cultural appropriation' plays a key role in this.
In a second step the interpretation of the fieldwork-results will be set into relation to
the appropriate parts of the history of technology, and to contemporary economy, politics,
law, society, and culture. As a result the virulent importance and meaning that
transnational technoludic online-communities of practice have for globalization and related
issues will become clear.
Thirdly the project aims to substantially contribute to a systematic basis for the
advancement of sociocultural anthropology. The discipline has a lot to contribute to the
understanding of the relation between human beings and cybernetic systems, Information and
Communication Technologies (ICTs) in particular. But in order to be able to deliver this
contribution, the discipline's concepts, methods and theories have to be carefully reviewed
and then transposed to match the new fields induced by ICTs.
Seen in the light of this, the project's name 'maxmod' has multiple meanings: At first the
modification of the computergame "Max Payne", secondly 'modification to the maximum' as a
maxim—a style of living in a world of ICTs. The final goal is to apply this maxim on
the discipline itself and to start to modify sociocultural anthropology into