military training geeks

Two new publications from the extreme ends of the spectrum, but both touching my topic. Now guess which one of the two is closer to my mind and heart.

KELTY, CHRISTOPHER M. 2005. Geeks, Social Imaginaries, and Recursive Publics. Cultural Anthropology 20(2):185-214.

official abstract:
This article investigates the social, technical, and legal affiliations among “geeks” (hackers, lawyers, activists, and IT entrepreneurs) on the Internet. The mode of association specific to this group is that of a “recursive public sphere” constituted by a shared imaginary of the technical and legal conditions of possibility for their own association. On the basis of fieldwork conducted in the United States, Europe, and India, I argue that geeks imagine their social existence and relations as much through technical practices (hacking, networking, and code writing) as through discursive argument (rights, identities, and relations). In addition, they consider a “right to tinker” a form of free speech that takes the form of creating, implementing, modifying, or using specific kinds of software (especially Free Software) rather than verbal discourse.

BONK, CURTIS J. AND VANESSA P. DENNEN. 2005. Massive Multiplayer Online Gaming: A Research Framework for Military Training and Education. Advanced Distributed Learning, Technical Report 2005-1. Washington, DC: Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Personnel and Readiness) Readiness and Training Directorate Advanced Distributed Learning (ADL) Initiative. [.pdf | 608KB] Available online:

official abstract:
Massive multiplayer online gaming, first popularized in the entertainment world, is now finding growing interest in education and training environments. The military and business have noted the potential for simulation and gaming technology to develop higher order thinking skills; in particular, they see potential in such areas as problem solving, metacognition, and decision making. However, much of the research in this area lags behind the technological advances, focusing on user demographics, attention spans, and perceptual skills, instead of addressing the impact these games might have on player’s analysis, decision making, and reflection skills. In part, the current body of research represents the interests of the gaming industry, which is more focused on exploiting any new technology to satisfy the attitudes, preferences, and expectations of its users, rather than the interests of education and training. It also reflects the fact that this is an emerging area that suffers from limited research and strategic planning. The report reviews the relevant research literature and proposes 15 primary experiments.

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