C y b e r s p a c e
 is  the  "place"  [...]
 between the phones.
 Bruce  Sterling  (1992)
'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 cyberanthropology.
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online since: 01 December 2004
last update: 19 May 2005