DGV05: structures of computer-mediated cultural spaces

by Timo Baur

It is still difficult to delineate the medium Internet as an object of investigation for cyberanthropology. The same is true for precisely positioning the cultural spaces which are perceptible via the Internet within a broader anthropological perspective. Because of geographical criteria this tasks at first seem easier concerning cultural spaces ‘traditionally’ belaboured by sociocultural anthropology. The presentation is based upon a semiotic concept of culture, McLuhan’s notions, and the ISO (International Standard Organization) OSI (Open Systems Interconnection) reference model. It aims at making explicit a structure upon which the Internet is based, both as an abstract medium and as being embedded in a larger environment. Thereby a correlation between virtuality and actuality will become explicit. Furthermore the emerging abstract paths of transmission and communication interrelations—via which systems of symbols like language, text, and graphics are mediated—can be observed in detail. This in turn allows to retrace and comprehend the constitution and diffusion of cultural expressions in particular cases.

Abstract of a presentation to be held at the workshop ‘cyberanthropology’ during the Conference of the German Anthropological Association (GAA aka DGV) – Halle / Saale, 4th – 7th October 2005.
translation of the German abstract by zeph—put the blame on me