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Digital phenotyping

Digital phenotyping is a multidisciplinary field of science, defined by Jukka-Pekka Onnela in 2015 as the" moment-by-moment quantification of the individual-level human phenotype in situ using data from personal digital devices,” in particular smartphones. The data can be divided into two subgroups, called active data and passive data, where the former refers to data that requires active input from the users to be generated, whereas passive data, such as sensor data and phone usage patterns, are collected without requiring any active participation from the user. Smartphones are well suited to digital phenotyping given their widespread adoption and ownership, the extent to which users engage with the devices, and richness of data that may be collected from them. Smartphone data can be used to study behavioral patterns, social interactions, physical mobility, gross motor activity, and speech production, among others. Smartphone ownership has been in steady rise globally over the past few years. For example, in the U.S., smartphone ownership among adults increased from 35% in 2011 to 64% in 2015, and in 2017 an estimated 95% of Americans own a cellphone of some kind and 77% own a smartphone. The use of passive data collection from smartphone devices can provide granular information relevant to psychiatric and other illness phenotypes. Types of relevant passive data include GPS data to monitor spatial location, accelerometer data to record movement and gross motor activity, and call and messaging logs to document social engagement with others. The related term digital phenotype, was introduced in Nature Biotechnology by Sachin H. Jain and John Brownstein.


Legal anthropology

Legal anthropology, also known as the anthropology of laws, is a sub-discipline of anthropology which specializes in "the cross-cultural study of social ordering". The questions that Legal Anthropologists seek to answer concern how is law present in cultures? How does it manifest? How may anthropologists contribute to understandings of law? Earlier legal anthropological research focused more narrowly on conflict management, crime, sanctions, or formal regulation. Bronislaw Malinowskis 1926 work, Crime and Custom in Savage Society, explored law, order, crime, and punishment among the Trobriand Islanders. The English lawyer Sir Henry Maine is often credited with founding the study of Legal Anthropology through his book Ancient Law 1861. An ethno-centric evolutionary perspective was pre-eminent in early Anthropological discourse on law, evident through terms applied such as pre-law’ or proto-law’ in describing indigenous cultures. However, though Maine’s evolutionary framework has been largely rejected within the discipline, the questions he raised have shaped the subsequent discourse of the study. Moreover, the 1926 publication of Crime and Custom in Savage Society by Malinowski based upon his time with the Trobriand Islanders, further helped establish the discipline of legal anthropology. Through emphasizing the order present in acephelous societies, Malinowski proposed the cross-cultural examining of law through its established functions as opposed to a discrete entity. This has led to multiple researchers and ethnographies examining such aspects as order, dispute, conflict management, crime, sanctions, or formal regulation, in addition and often antagonistically to law-centred studies, with small-societal studies leading to insightful self-reflections and better understanding of the founding concept of law. Contemporary research in legal anthropology has sought to apply its framework to issues at the intersections of law and culture, including human rights, legal pluralism, Islamophobia and political uprisings.


Legal archaeology

Legal archaeology is an area of legal scholarship "involving detailed historical reconstruction and analysis of important cases." While most legal scholars confine their research to published opinions of court cases, legal archaeologists examine the historical and social context in which a court case was decided. These facts may show what social and cultural forces were at work in a particular case. Professors can use legal archaeology to "sensitize students as to how inequality, specifically with regard to race, gender and class affects what occurs throughout the cases they study." A legal archaeologist might also research biographical material on the judges, attorneys, and parties to a court case. Such information might show whether a judge held particular biases in a case, or if one party had superior legal representation that caused the party to prevail in a case.



Transdisciplinarity connotes a research strategy that crosses many disciplinary boundaries to create a holistic approach. It applies to research efforts focused on problems that cross the boundaries of two or more disciplines, such as research on effective information systems for biomedical research, and can refer to concepts or methods that were originally developed by one discipline, but are now used by several others, such as ethnography, a field research method originally developed in anthropology but now widely used by other disciplines. The Belmont Forum elaborated that a transdisciplinary approach is enabling inputs and scoping across scientific and non-scientific stakeholder communities and facilitating a systemic way of addressing a challenge. This includes initiatives that support the capacity building required for the successful transdisciplinary formulation and implementation of research actions.

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