MAC129 What Is Cyberculture?


Published on

Level 1 slides for the intro class to MAC129 Cyberculture

Published in: Education, Technology
  • Be the first to comment

No Downloads
Total views
On SlideShare
From Embeds
Number of Embeds
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide

MAC129 What Is Cyberculture?

  1. 1. History, approaches, themes and examples
  2. 2. <ul><li>A slippery term to define </li></ul><ul><li>‘ it is the culture of and in cyberspace’ </li></ul><ul><ul><li>(Read & Gessler, 1996: 306) </li></ul></ul>
  3. 3.
  4. 4.
  5. 5.
  6. 6.
  7. 7.
  8. 8. <ul><li>‘ To define cyberculture is to engage in obsolescence’ </li></ul><ul><ul><li>(Read & Gessler, 1996: 306) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>For a counterview see Silver (2000) </li></ul>
  9. 9. <ul><li>Cyberculture is the culture that has emerged, or is emerging, from the use of computer networks for communication, entertainment and business. </li></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul>
  10. 10.
  11. 11.
  12. 12. <ul><li>‘ ... the study of various social phenomena associated with the Internet and other new forms of network communication . Examples of what falls under cyberculture studies are online communities, online multi-player gaming, the issue of online identity, the sociology and the ethnography of email usage, cell phone usage in various communities; the issues of gender and ethnicity in Internet usage; and so on.’ </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Lev Manovich (2002: 16) </li></ul></ul>
  13. 13.
  14. 14.
  15. 15. <ul><li>‘ one of the two or three most complicated words in the English language’ </li></ul><ul><ul><li>(Williams, 1983: 87) </li></ul></ul>
  16. 16.
  17. 17.
  18. 18.
  19. 19. <ul><li>Cyber = electronic? </li></ul><ul><li>Cyber = digital? </li></ul><ul><li>Cyberculture or cyberculture s ? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>See Rheingold 1993 </li></ul></ul>
  20. 20. <ul><li>Early studies tended to be US focussed </li></ul><ul><ul><li>(see ICANN ) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>One of the first to get connected </li></ul><ul><ul><li>(see ARPANET) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Academic study has focussed on Anglo-American examples </li></ul>
  21. 21. <ul><li>4 historical periods (see Jakub Macek, 2005 ) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>1950s-1970s </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>1970s-early 1980s </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>1980s </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>L a te 1980s-mid 1990s </li></ul></ul>
  22. 22. <ul><li>Cyberculture originates in the US hacker subculture </li></ul><ul><li>Cybernetic organism or ‘cyborg’ ( M. E. Clynes and S. Kline, 1960) </li></ul><ul><li>‘ hypertext’ (T. H. Nelson, 1960) </li></ul><ul><li>Emergence of ARAPNET project (1963) </li></ul>
  23. 23. <ul><li>Cyberculture moves out of research institutes and universities </li></ul><ul><li>Intel’s miniature microprocessor (1971) </li></ul><ul><li>The Homebrew Computer Club </li></ul>
  24. 24. <ul><li>Success of microcomputers explode across North America and Western Europe </li></ul><ul><li>Subcultures emerge (computer games, virtual communities, the digital avant-garde, etc) </li></ul><ul><li>Hacker = criminal </li></ul>
  25. 25. <ul><li>Cyberculture becomes the norm </li></ul><ul><li>Spread of networked computers, unified by common software formats </li></ul><ul><li>Uptake of GUIs, HTML, etc </li></ul>
  26. 26. <ul><li>Study falls into two camps: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Dsytopia rants </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Utopian raves </li></ul></ul><ul><li>‘ From one side, cultural critics blamed the Net for deteriorating literacy, political and economic alienation, and social fragmentation’ </li></ul><ul><ul><li>(Silver, 2000) </li></ul></ul>
  27. 27. <ul><li>Cyberculture goes mainstream but with some strange depictions …. </li></ul><ul><li>Johnny Mnemonic </li></ul><ul><li>(1995, US, dir., Robert Longo) </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>
  28. 28. <ul><li>Revenge of the Luddites? </li></ul><ul><li>Techno-anxiety? </li></ul><ul><li>&quot;life in the real world is far more interesting, far more important, far richer, than anything you'll ever find on a computer screen&quot; </li></ul><ul><ul><li>(Stoll, 1995: 13). </li></ul></ul>
  29. 29. <ul><li>‘ These highways -- or, more accurately, networks of distributed intelligence -- will allow us to share information, to connect, and to communicate as a global community. From these connections we will derive robust and sustainable economic progress, strong democracies, better solutions to global and local environmental challenges, improved health care , and -- ultimately -- a greater sense of shared stewardship of our small planet.’ </li></ul><ul><ul><li>(Al Gore, 1995, cited in Silver, 2000) </li></ul></ul>
  30. 30.
  31. 31. <ul><li>Playing with gender? </li></ul><ul><li>Sex in cyberspace? </li></ul><ul><li>Second Life ? </li></ul>
  32. 32. Conclusion <ul><li>Cyberculture has a relatively short but rich history </li></ul><ul><li>Rapid acceleration of immersion in cyberculture </li></ul><ul><li>Pros/cons of this ‘new’ way of living? </li></ul><ul><li>Many arguments to be had…. </li></ul>
  33. 33. <ul><li>Kate Connolly, 2007, ‘Second Life in virtual sex scandal’, The Guardian , available at </li></ul><ul><li>William Gibson, 1984, Neuromancer , New York: Ace Science Fiction </li></ul><ul><li>Jakub Macek, 2005, ‘Defining Cyberculture (v. 2)’ (trans: Monika Metykov á and Jakub Macek), available at </li></ul><ul><li>Lev Mancovich, 2002, The Language of New Media , Cambridge (Massachusetts): MIT Press. </li></ul><ul><li>Howard Rheingold, 1993, The Virtual Community: Homesteading on the Electronic Frontier , </li></ul><ul><li>Dwight W. Read & Nicholas Gessler, 1996, ‘Cyberculture’ in David Levinson and Melvin Ember (eds), Encyclopedia of Cultural Anthropology , New York: Henry Holt and Co. Available at </li></ul><ul><li>Kirkpatrick Sale, 1995, Rebels Against the Future: The Luddites and Their War on the Industrial Revolution: Lessons for the Computer Age, Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley Publishing Company. </li></ul><ul><li>David Silver, 2000, ‘Looking Backwards, Looking Forward: Cyberculture Studies 1990-2000’ in David Gauntlett (ed), Web.studies: Rewiring Media Studies for the Digital Age , London: Oxford University Press. Available at </li></ul><ul><li>Clifford Stoll, 1995, Silicon Snake Oil: Second Thoughts on the Information Highway , New York: Doubleday. </li></ul><ul><li>Raymond Williams, 1983, Keywords , London: Fontana. </li></ul><ul><li>Wikipedia, ‘Cyberculture’ last accessed 3/10/2008 </li></ul>
  34. 34. Images <ul><li>Slides 4-6: Torley, </li></ul><ul><li>Slides 7-8, 12: robjewitt, </li></ul><ul><li>Slides 13-14: rafeejewell, </li></ul><ul><li>Slide 16: musicmuse_ca, </li></ul><ul><li>Slide 17: Dr Karanka, </li></ul><ul><li>Slide 18: Corey Leopold, </li></ul><ul><li>Slide 22: viscousplatypus, </li></ul><ul><li>Slides 31-32: rafeejewell, </li></ul>
  35. 35. <ul><li>H a s the advent of cyberculture transformed how we relate to each other? </li></ul><ul><li>Have you ever experimented with your digital identity online to create a different version of yourself? (eg Second Life, Xbox Avatars, Nintendo Mii, etc). If so, how did you find this experience? </li></ul><ul><li>What does the future hold? Will it be a better tomorrow powered by information networks or will we become slaves to the machine? </li></ul>
  36. 36. <ul><li>Gender online: </li></ul><ul><li>Sceptics (Postman): </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>Gibson in Second Life: </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>Visions of the future: </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>