Airports an Anthropological explosion | Science | TORN
Airports an Anthropological explosion
    • Jazz_Spiegel [2135361]
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    Thread created on 19:35:25 - 11/06/18 (5 years ago)
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    Last replied 15:56:10 - 17/06/18 (5 years ago)
    As I sit for a six hour layover I wander around and realize how unique, in a cultural anthropology sense, airports are. You have a large volume of people in and out all day long and of wildly diffrent backgrounds. All with the end goal of getting to their destination with as little conflict as possible.

    Then another thought pops in to my mind, social media and social gamning might share some similarities with an airport. 
    Last edited by Jazz_Spiegel on 19:36:02 - 11/06/18
    • nihilisticcat [2112766]
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    Posted on 15:56:10 - 17/06/18 (5 years ago)
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    Social medias and airports might share some commonalities in terms of similar goals of people in a diverse community, yet they are wildly different experiences. Why is this? Neither one of these shared experiences offer much in terms of deep connectivity with another, yet everyone in both spaces has the same goal (with slight alterations, ex, destination). Both spaces allow access to different cultures and ideas, yet few people will actively search these opportunities out. 

    People (in general) will use social media a lot more than they do an airport. One could argue that one reason is that social media is free and is much more accessible, which is true, however, if every airport offered free flights, and were accessible to everyone, would everyone use airports as freely as they do social media? I don't have an answer, but I suspect the answer is 'no'. Why else? I think the imposingly massive physical space that an airport demands can be intimidating for many people, and when most go to an airport, they only have their travel plans in mind. I have never gone to an airport to meet strangers and learn about their stories (who they are, what they believe in, etc.), although, this would be interesting to do. i do not have an airport near to me to carry out this experiment, though. Social media is inherently less threatening and 'safe', because there is an illusion that every individual has an important impact on the larger system that is society. By breaking down your spot in society into gender, sexuality, age, religion, etc, it makes it really easy to categorize both yourself and your spot in society in reference to others that surround you and those 'outside' of you (the 'other'). This is where social media isolation largely comes from, this illusion of grandiose in a world in which individuals are ultimately meaningless and will die and be forgotten about in 2-3 hundred years. This doesn't legitimize the feelings of wanting to be important or leaving a legacy, but with too much a focus on individualism, it leads to the type of isolation that you find online. Airports take this to the opposite extreme. With so many people and so much physical space, every individual is dwarfed by the larger world around themselves. This makes it really intimidating to go and talk to someone, because with the amount of people surrounding the individual, it makes any conversation seem entirely irrelevant. One person cannot go up to every individual in an airport and ask them their life story, their beliefs, their biases, their emotional fortitude, in part because there is only so much time in the day (or week, or month, or year, or existence), but this would also be exhausting. There is (maybe?) some evolution behind this, as spending time getting to know everyone would lead to a lack of procreation, and ultimately the death of the human race.

    This would be an interesting comparison to write up as an undergrad anthropology thesis.

    Another example of this phenomenon is going to a local market or grocery store in the downtown of a busy, diverse city (I'm from Canada, so Toronto comes to mind). Going to one of these markets in a largely immigrant community will yield a similar experience of a diverse group of people coming together that are all aiming to achieve a similar, albeit slightly different, task (in this case, buying food), but there is very little meaningful connections to be found here as well. Kind of funny, the more connected the world is, the less connected 'we' (people) are as individuals.
    Food for thought, no pun intended. ;)

    Sorry for the long post! You piqued my interest.
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