By Charles Ess, Susan Herring, Fay Sudweeks

Balance and good fortune in our digital international village more and more depends upon the advanced interactions of tradition, communique, and expertise. This publication deals either theoretical ways and case reviews of those interactions from varied cultural domain names, together with Europe, the center East, Asia, and the us. This international viewpoint is helping to counteract the Anglo-American presumptions that experience ruled dialogue and literature on computer-mediated communique (CMC) applied sciences. The participants discover and problem the culture-bound values and communicative personal tastes inherent in CMC technologies—including values and personal tastes on the topic of gender—and additionally record non-Western examples of imposing those applied sciences in ways in which catalyze international conversation whereas maintaining and adorning neighborhood cultures. Taken jointly, those essays articulate the interdisciplinary foundations and functional versions essential to layout and use CMC applied sciences in ways in which aid us to prevent the alternative among an international yet culturally homogenous “McWorld” and fragmented neighborhood cultures whose identities are preserved purely of their competition to globalization.

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As we saw in the opening paragraphs, McLuhan’s global village and its attendant Manichean polarities further implicate what now appears to be an especially American presumption that communication technologies are crucial for the survival and expansion of democracy and individual freedom. Moreover, especially from a philosophical approach, a range of additional presumptions can be seen to underlie the optimistic vision of an electronic global village; presumptions, moreover, which are quickly entangled in paradox and contradiction.

Such choice, as we have seen, is apparent in multiple ways and is theoretically included in the notion of habitus as elaborated here especially by Yoon. 23. In addition to Lacroix and Tremblay’s recognition of the difficulties of defining “culture,” see Star (1995, 26). While her anthology, The Cultures of Computing, includes a number of significant and pertinent essays, her focus is on culture in a related but different sense than we use it here. , as in the example of “organizational culture,” the “transnational culture” of professionals from different countries working together via e-mail, etc.

But consonant with philosophical critiques,16 such (hard) technological determinism is clearly belied by these studies, beginning with Jones’ analysis of the limits of any on-line community. Such a “compunity,” to use his term, is more likely to emerge as a micropolis rather than the cosmopolis of a single global culture. And as Yoon makes clear in her analysis, the habitus of cultural practices and attitudes surrounding computing exercises a kind of cultural power that can be both shaped and resisted by individuals.

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