Textbook Notes (369,137)
Canada (162,407)
CMNS 253W (15)
Chapter 3

Chapter 3 Notes

13 Pages
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Department
Communication
Course Code
CMNS 253W
Professor
Frederik Lesage

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APPROACHES TO NEW MEDIA 9/28/2013 8:34:00 PM Social shaping – perspective in which groups and individuals are understood as being able to influence how media is used and how it evolves In understanding new media, cultural, social, psychological, economic context and media forms are explored. Approaches include: technical, artistic, social, political, economic and historical The content of media is affected by form. New Media Technologies are part of the social world and as such their influences are felt through the people who develop them and are heavily affected by how people interpret the messages they contain.  When people make something new out of the content of others‟ messages Why is it important to be familiar with multiple theories?  Helps with your investigations  Proves invaluable when you encounter commentary from others  Know strengths and weakness of an approach  Different “vantage points” Cyberspace- most universally over-hyped terms of the latter part of the twentieth century ; hype about how it is expected to change everything, for the better HYPE  According to Mosco- cyberspace is not only technical, political and economic but is a form of cultural myth, transcends contemporary science and material world MODERNIST BELIEF: technology is socially progressive; new is cutting edge and the place for forward-thinking people Dot.com crash- revealed the dangers of investing too much in the new media hype of companies that rested on fatally flawed business plans  Hype is pervasive- taps into „digital sublime;  New media mid-1990s = utopian Negroponte- championed idea that digitization had reached a point where the transition from an economy and society based on „atoms‟ and the production of goods, to one based on „bits‟, meant that computing is not about computers anymore. What is being digital to Negroponte? „like a force of nature, the digital age cannot be denied or stopped and that is has four very powerful qualities that will result in its ultimate triumph What are the four qualities? 1.) decentralizing 2.)globalizing 3.) harmonizing 4.) empowering Gilder predicted that the Internet would mean the death of television, which he saw as being „a tool for tyrants… [whose] overthrow will be a major force for freedom and individualism, culture and mortality. What was published in Cyberspace and the American Dream: A Magna Carta for the Knowledge Age? It found that the internet both a concrete expression of uniquely American values of entrepreneurship and rugged individualism, identifying cyberspace as „the land of knowledge… civilizations truest, highest calling‟ and the basis for the „creation of a new civilization, founded in the eternal truths of the American Idea‟ *At this point, everyone has positive hope for this development, even former vice president, Al gore. COUNTER HYPE Stoll- warning that „life in the real world is far more interesting, far more important, far richer, than anything you‟ll ever find on a computer screen. Luddite opposition- to warn of the need to „resist the virtual life‟ Barbrook and Cameron argued that the new media discourse fostered by WIRED magazine was part of a Californian ideology that constituted a „bizarre fusion of the cultural bohemianism of San Francisco with the hi-tech industries of Silicon Valley‟ combining political libertarianism with a belief in free markets in a world where „everybody can be both hip and rich‟  relationship of culture to technology in modern societies Postman- critique as technopoly „deification of technology‟- culture seeks its authorization in technology, finds its satisfactions in technology and takes its order from technology Middle Ground Perspectives Cyberbole : overly optimistic or pessimistic account of the impact of new media to identify a middle ground between extreme positions  „New Empiricism‟ – beyond utopianism and critiques ; tried to ground new media studies in real data and the real experiences of those who use media.  Talk about it not as a separate sphere („cyberspace‟) but rather the online aspects of regular life  Limitations to approaches  Implications: 1.) Lends itself more readily to some research and theoretical traditions than to others  Empiricism lends itself to statistically-based sociology and quanitative, survey based, methodologies  Exist alongside speculative media theory, which has tended to approach the interaction between technology and culture in more future-oriented terms  Critical political economy questioning whether policy making organizations possess sufficient distance from the most powerful private interest to be able to act in the public interest  Online ethnography that looks at use of new media and internet in everyday life 2.) empirical approach to new media tends to have an „after-the-event-„ element to it; seeks to manage rather than to make change  recurring theme of new media developments is the extent to which critique of existing systems happens through design so that the politics of new media is as often enacted through the relationships between large- scale corporate media and those who pursue alternative forms of digital creativity o 3.) consider the recurring significance of optimism about new media as a form of myth that is historically grounded  not only how claims about the democratizing potential of cable television now look silly but also that such claims bear a striking resemblance to those made about the transformative impact of the Internet  „electronic revolution‟ of new ICT and the late nineteenth century utopian idea that industrial machinery and electrical technology could be harnessed in harmony with nature to provide both material prosperity and social peace. *ALL UTOPIAN PROPROSITIONS technological determinism – also falls under utopian perspective; it is a way of thinking about the relationship between new technologies and society that has been quite pervasive ; MUCH LIKE MCLUHAN  sees social change as driven by technological change  Williamson sees it as a view that „research and development‟ have been assumed as self-generating; new technologies bring create new societies / new human conditions  flaw of technological determinisms –which would have technology advancing of its wn accord, propelled by innovation, free of outside influence for example  VCR/BETA: adoption of common standard vs. capacity of other recorders  APPLE VS. MICROSOFT – not just from earlier to newer versions but that they might constitute highly lucrative forms of intellectual property  3G- over investment that users sought to access internet through mobile phones  digital television difficulties as there is resistance to the development of new television services all over world *Relationship between new media technologies and society is technologically determinist in nature 1.)whether a cluster of technologies will in fact, shape historical development over the long term a. Heilbroner argued that a particular technological form contains within its implicit forms of social organization that are difficult to reverse i. E.g. household washing machines- carries with it the assumption that clothes will be washed by homeowners and no longer by servants; no need to make it fancy 2.) observe the partial truth of technological determinism, in that once particular technologies are widely adopted and used, they acquire a degree of „lock in; that shapes society and culture in a wider sense  Winner „Inherently political technologies‟ such as nuclear power, requiring high level of external surveillance o E.g. QWERTY typewriter keyboard- achieved dominance in the early twentieth century, with adoption by large organizations and training among prospective workers, leading to technological lock in since the costs of change for individuals and organizations became too great to contemplate Social Shaping of Technology Approach (alternative to technological determinism)  Theory argues that social, institutional, economic and cultural factors shape the choices made about the forms of technological innovation, the content of technological artifacts and practices and the outcomes and impacts of technological change for different groups in society.  Requires a broader understanding of technology than simply its most basic application as the tools and artifacts used by humsn  Defines technology as simply „hardware‟ needs to be extended to consider the uses of such technologies, their contexts of use, and the systems of knowledge and social meaning that accompany their development and use 3 distinctive strands 1.)The diffusion of innovations model- associated with the communications theorist Everett Rogers, who sought to model the rate of adoption and eventual spread of an innovation in the social system through communication via particular channels over time i. Shift in market focus from the attributes of the technology to its ease of use and ability to solve problems as it evolves through a given diffusion cycle ii. Observe the risks of developing more complex technological solutions at the stage in the product cycle where a technological product is becoming a mass-market commodity 2.)The political economy model – focuses
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