76.478 The Anthropology of Cyberspace

Session I.  Theoretical issues: technology, communication, society, and culture.


Who is this University of Manitoba graduate?
Why is he important for our consideration of cyberspace?

What is the general relationship between technology and culture and how do changes in one area influence the other?
What are the specific implications of communications technology and infrastructure?
Are we experiencing the onset of a new revolution based on emerging communitcation and information technologies.

Attack on the World Trade Centre.

References:

B. Impacts of computer mediated communication technology.

1. Relationship between technology, culture and society.

Technological determinist views - technology determines social and cultural institutions and directs the pace of change

vs.

Cultural and social determinism - technology is introduced and adapted according to cultural values or social interests.
Marxist version focuses on the influence of socio-economic class in directing the pace and nature of technological change.

Readings:

2. Relationship between computer technologies, society and culture

David Hakken
1993 Computing and Social Change: New Technology and Workplace Transformation, 1980-1990
Annual Review of Anthropology

(Also see:  Technology and Social Change: The Workspace Connection)

3. Relationship between media technology, society, and culture.

References

Follow up on the Global Village - Computers and Translation.

One of McLuhan's visions for the electronic "global village" was that we would be able to communicate with anyone in the world through the intermediation of computers that could instantaneously translate between different languages. A number of projects are now underway to realize this vision. Have a look at the following:

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Brian Schwimmer
January 20, 2000