me on wikipedia

This is in order to prevent anyone assuming that my vanity has gone straight through the ceiling. I just discovered that there is an entry called ↑Cyberanthropology at the German Wikipedia. To my surprise within this entry there is an inside-Wikipedia link ↑Alexander Knorr (Ethnologe) [(social/cultural anthropologist)]. And indeed, since 25 April 2012 there is an entry at Wikipedia on yours truly [I am awaiting its speedy deletion ;-]. Someone started the thing and meanwhile four other people worked on it. Till now it’s only four sentences long—and here my question: Should I, as time will permit, myself enlarge it? … Continue reading

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cyberculture as discourse

After elaborating on methodological concerns and before delving into detailed analysis of the representational politics in selected cyberpop examples, it is important to situate the objects of this book in their cultural context. Chapter 2 is an overview of several key concepts in the network of discourses and practices that constitute cyberculture and, by extension, its popular media productions. Describing cyberculture as a discursive formation (inspired by theories of Michel Foucault (Archeology) helpfully clarifies how the key concepts that emerge repeatedly in cyberpop operate as a network or conceptual architecture linking technologies to individual subjects, identities, and digital lifestyles. In … Continue reading

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magic kingdom pilgrimage

[abstract:] This essay explores the proposition that Walt Disney World is an amusement park whose form is borrowed from the pilgrimage center. Bateson, Norbeck, and Turner have shown that play and ritual together comprise a metaprocess of expressive behavior rooted in our mammalian past. Substantively both traditional pilgrimage centers, especially Mecca, and Walt Disney World are analyzed in terms of shared activities, symbols displayed, myths evoked, and tripartite time-space processes of rites of passage. The Magic Kingdom is shown to be a giant limen ritual threshold, which symbolically replicates the baroque capital. To go there is to engage in transcendent … Continue reading

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material cyberculture

[abstract:] This essay offers a polemical exploration of spatiality in new media culture, one based on a materialist, as opposed to a ‘ virtualist’ paradigm. Its goal is to intervene in the thought processes of liberal-phenomenological cybertheory. The latter tends to see computer users as consumers, rather than producers, within national and global economies. Because of this leisure-consumption orien tation, theories of new media are easily appropriated within ideologies of postindustrial capitalism. This has led to some oversimplified models of spatiality in cybertheory, many of which proceed from the premise that the material world is fast disappearing under the pressures … Continue reading

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cues in cyberspace

[abstract:] Although the relative paucity of social cues in computer-mediated communication poses problems of the organization of social relations in cyberspace, recent studies have begun to focus on the ways in whicht this deficit is managed. This article contributes to this research by addressing the question of how participants distinguish between contexts in online discourse. Data on cues, and on naming practices in particular, in text-based virtual realities called MOOs illustrate the structure of contexts and the dynamics of contextualizing communication and interaction in cyberspace. JACOBSON, DAVID. 1996. Contexts and cues in cyberspace: the pragmatics of naming in text-based virtual … Continue reading

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corporeal virtual reality

[abstract: ] This paper considers the experience of embodiment in current and (possible) future virtual reality applications. A phenomenological perspective is adopted to explore user embodiment in those virtual reality applications that both do and do not include a visual body (re)presentation (virtual body). Embodiment is viewed from the perspective of sensorial immersion, where issues of gender, race, and culture are all implicated. Accounts of “disrupted” bodies (for example, phantom limb and dissociation of the selffrom the body, paralysis, and objectified bodies) are advanced in order to provide a context for understanding the ways in which embodiment in virtual reality … Continue reading

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pfaffenberger on society

Today, most sociologists accept that communities arise, not necessarily from face-to-face interaction, but rather from shared meanings. Because they are capable of promulgating shared meanings on an unprecedented scale, new communication and media technologies (including newspapers, motion pictures, radio, television, and computer-based communications) are capable of creating communities that vastly transcend the limits of face-to-face interaction. (Pfaffenberger 2008: 651) Durkheim’s understanding of society was informed by likening its constituent elements to an advanced, highly differentiated organism. Scientific and technological advances in the twentieth century made new metaphors available to sociological theorists. Drawing on the emerging fields of cybernetics and systems … Continue reading

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lego serving science

I especially like this Google Science Fair 2012 video, because it shows how much makeshift and creative improvisation takes place in laboratory work—quite to the contrary of the usual renditions of hight-tech labs in movies. And I of course do like it, because Lego is used. Another instance of Lego serving science is a recent publicity stunt: The personnel of the German research-station ↑Neumayer III in antarctica are ↑recreating their station out of 7000 Lego pieces [in German]. Seemingly as a kind of group therapy to overcome the boredom during the antarctic winter :-) … Continue reading

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the construction of social computing

Just yesterday I received an e-mail from ↑Maurizio Teli [whom I know from back in 2005, when we met at the Cyberspace conference in Brno, Czech Republic] containing a call for papers for a workshop he is organizing together with ↑Vincenzo D’Andrea and ↑David Hakken. The workshop will take place at this year’s annual meeting, called ↑Design and displacement—social studies of science and technology, of the ↑Society for Social Studies of Science (4S), taking place 17 through 20 October 2012 in Copenhagen, Denmark. Here is the workshop’s full abstract: In the last few years, the label “Social Computing” (SC) has … Continue reading

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