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What is the Role of English Studies in the Information Economy?
 

What is the Role of English Studies in the Information Economy?

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Keynote for MCEA 2006, Michigan State University

Keynote for MCEA 2006, Michigan State University

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    What is the Role of English Studies in the Information Economy? What is the Role of English Studies in the Information Economy? Presentation Transcript

    • What is the Role of English Studies in the Knowledge Economy? MCEA 2006 Bill Hart-Davidson Michigan State University [email_address] www.wide.msu.edu
    • Knowledge Economy?
      • Generally characterized by
      • a shift from commodity goods to information as the source of building wealth
      • an increased emphasis on knowledge and innovation as economic differentiators
      • a reliance on technology, particularly networked computing and communication
      • an association with globalization, as a driver of competition and as a gateway to new markets
    • Knowledge Economy?
      • An English Studies Point of View:
      • turning information into knowledge is the primary requirement for success
      • “ haves and have nots” are on either side of a literacy divide
      • computing is primarily a medium for supporting social interaction
      • cross-cultural contact , and therefore understanding , is a fact of life
    • Is this your English Studies?
      • Impart the critical and productive strategies required to turn information into knowledge
      • Address and intervene in the literacy divide, anchored in historical inequities and exacerbated by technological and economic factors
      • Explore the human need for social interaction while developing students’ capacity to interact with others
      • Help students understand that cross-cultural contact , and therefore understanding , enriches humanity
    • New Opportunities
      • turn information into knowledge
      • literacy divide,
      • social interaction
      • cross-cultural contact , understanding
      What I’d like to do this afternoon is to follow each of these threads a bit further in an attempt to frame new opportunities for English Studies.
      • Reclaiming Innovation
      • Refiguring Literacy
      • Foregrounding Social Interaction
      • Going Global
    • Reclaiming Innovation Value, in a knowledge economy, comes from an ability to foster what Zuboff & Maxmin have called “deep support.” Empathy, Ethics, Eloquence …in this model become economic fundamentals alongside Efficiency, Exchange Value…
    • Deep Support “ Deep support enables psychological self-determination. It produces time for life. It facilitates and enhances the experience of being the origin of one's life. It recognizes, responds to, and promotes individuality. It celebrates intricacy. It multiplies choice and enhances flexibility. It encourages voice and is guided by voice. Deep support listens and offers connection. It offers collaborative relationship defined by advocacy. It is founded on trust, reciprocity, authenticity, intimacy, and absolute reliability.” Zuboff & Maxmin, The Support Economy
    • Invention & Innovation Premise: Winners in a Knowledge Economy develop “Deep Support.” Example: Threadless (SkinnyCorp)
    • What’s New About T-shirts?
      • Threadless designs are produced by users/customers in an ongoing design contest format
      • Threadless.com is a place to share your work, get known in the design community, compare and learn from experienced designers
      • SkinnyCorp doesn’t make T-shirts; in their own words, they “make communities.”
      • All the innovations here involve allowing information (t-shirt designs, personal profiles, ratings) to be shared in communities…deep support
    • Refiguring Literacy
      • the knowledge that underlies “action-centered skill” is increasingly encoded in networked systems where it was previously ephemeral and oral in nature
      • this “textualization” of work frees workers from constraints of action-centered work, and also frees them to act on their work in a more comprehensive, explicit way ( writing )
      • These “freedoms,” though, depend on “two critical conditions: the presence of individual competence and the opportunity to express that competence ” ( literacy )
      Zuboff, In the Age of the Smart Machine
    • Texts, Reading & Writing What constitutes “competence” and the “opportunity to express competence” for a system like Tivo? Tivo textualizes everyday, mundane action… Does it free us from TV? What does it free us to do?
    • Who Can Read? Write? As more and more of our lives are lived in networked spaces, the “actions” of life are increasingly textualized. We then can act on these texts…changing our lives and the lives of others. In theory…
    • What if… We could tell our own stories? http://grassroots.wide.msu.edu
    • Foregrounding Social Interaction Cameraphone + Flickr.com Suddenly, Bill is a better son-in-law! Information Technologies are used to achieve social goals. We rely on them not for “computing tasks,” - these are far below our level of consciousness most of the time. We rely on them to help us communicate, but we don’t stop there.
    • Fanfic: Literature?
      • 7,449 pages listing Harry Potter stories
      • 269,094 total Harry Potter stories
      • 3399 user communities; 827 user forums for HP
      We read to write, write to connect!
    • Connect It’s not about selling books, it’s about being a good father.
    • What if… We had a way to see the connections our texts helped us, and others, to make?
    • Going Global Manuel Castells, The Rise of the Network Society “ A global economy is something different: it is an economy with the capacity to work as a unit in real time on a planetary scale.” “… we are not living in a global villiage, but in customized cottages globally produced and locally distributed.” Hands Image: http://www.flickr.com/photos/brainspiration/131080695/ Cottage Image: http://www.flickr.com/photos/stuartyeates/59767046/
    • The Long Tail “ The phrase The Long Tail , as a proper noun, was first coined by Chris Anderson. Anderson argued that products that are in low demand or have low sales volume can collectively make up a market share that rivals or exceeds the relatively few current bestsellers and blockbusters, if the store or distribution channel is large enough.” Image: http://www.thelongtail.com/ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Long_Tail
    • What if… A whole world of information could be put to use locally, on demand? gurulib.com uses catalogue info from Amazon.com & 500+ public libraries to help you organize your home book collection antennasearch.com shows you where cell phone reception towers and antennae are…and are not…
    • Can you hear me now?
    • What is the Role of English Studies in the Knowledge Economy?
      • turn information into knowledge
      • literacy divide,
      • social interaction
      • cross-cultural contact , understanding
      Q: A: Address our core goals not only through pedagogy and traditional scholarship, but also by becoming directly involved in creating and mashing up information systems .
    • Is this your English Studies?
      • Impart the critical and productive strategies required to turn information into knowledge …to the world
      • Address and intervene in the literacy divide by becoming agents of technological and economic change
      • Promote the human need for social interaction by developing our societies’ capacity to support it
      • Facilitate cross-cultural contact, and therefore understanding, beyond the classroom
    • Thank You! MCEA 2006 Bill Hart-Davidson Michigan State University [email_address] www.wide.msu.edu