Comm 309


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  • Maybe ask the class a question… which view of technology do you have? Utopian or Dystopian?
  • Comm 309

    1. 1. STRAND ONE: UNIT 3 Theorizing CMC: Technology and Social Interaction
    2. 2. Main Objectives <ul><li>Review the major pattern of technological development. </li></ul><ul><li>Examine dominant myths about technology and social change. </li></ul><ul><li>Describe and critique the notion of technological determinism. </li></ul><ul><li>Consider the alternative ‘social constructivist’ and ‘realist’ perspectives </li></ul>
    3. 3. ???Questions??? <ul><li>How do people interact with, and in the presence of, technology? </li></ul><ul><li>How do people incorporate technology into their social interactions? </li></ul><ul><li>How do people interact through, or by means of, technology? </li></ul><ul><li>How do people represent and talk about technology? </li></ul>
    4. 4. Technological Development: A history <ul><li>Human’s have been creating ways to transmit, store and manipulate information and messages for centuries </li></ul><ul><li>The internet comes from a long line of technologies for communication, including the printing press, the telegraph, the telephone, the radio, and the television. </li></ul><ul><li>Think about the technologies in your home and how each one has helped or hinder your lives. </li></ul><ul><li>1982 Time Person of the Year: The Computer </li></ul>
    5. 5. Stages of Technological Development: <ul><li>Stage 1: </li></ul><ul><li>To begin, the new technology is an option for only the wealthy, the specialist or the enthusiast. It presents itself as a whole new way of liberating users. </li></ul><ul><li>Ex. The Washing Machine. </li></ul><ul><li>Stage 2: </li></ul><ul><li>After a while, the technology becomes more widely accepted and easier to use. The once new and exciting technology then starts to become a necessary part of our lives rather than being an exclusive choice- we are almost forced to use it, and people even seem to depend on it. </li></ul><ul><li>Ex. ATM Machines, cell phones. </li></ul>
    6. 6. Hype & Hysteria: <ul><li>With each new technology, there’s almost always an associated period of social & cultural reorganization and reflection-sometimes even anxiety and conflict. </li></ul><ul><li>Hype- creating wonderful, unique advantages of the technology </li></ul><ul><li>Hysteria- believing and expressing terrible effects they foresee with the progression of technology </li></ul>
    7. 7. The Utopian & Dystopian Positions <ul><li>Utopian Vision emphasizes the life-enhancing, exciting possibilities of computing technology with claims for global connectivity, democratization, and the opening of the frontiers of human experience & relationship. </li></ul><ul><li>AKA Hype </li></ul><ul><li>Dystopian Vision concerns itself with people’s enslavement to digital technology, their growing dependency, as well as the relentless, unstoppable growth of technology that causes information overload & breakdown of social structures and values. </li></ul><ul><li>AKA Hysteria </li></ul>
    8. 8. Framing The Myths: Technological Determinism <ul><li>Technological Determinism is the assumption that technologies are the primary cause of: </li></ul><ul><li>Major social and historical changes at the macrosocial level of societal structures and processes </li></ul><ul><li>Subtle but profound social & psychological influences at the microsocial level of the regular use of particular kinds of tools </li></ul>
    9. 9. Core Assumptions of Technological Determinism <ul><li>Reductionistic: Reduces the relationship between technology and culture to one of straightforward cause & effect. </li></ul><ul><li>Monistic: Rather than being multi-causuak, it oversimplifies an otherwise complex relationship to the effects of a single factor. </li></ul><ul><li>Neutralizing: represents technology as neutral or value-free and therefore absolved of ‘responsibility’ </li></ul><ul><li>Technological imperative: presents technological progress as unstoppable, inevitable & irreversible </li></ul>
    10. 10. Technological Determinism cont. <ul><li>Each one of the underlying assumptions of technological determinism is a potential line of attack- a way of crticizing claims about CMC and about the relationship between the internet & social life. </li></ul>
    11. 11. Social Constructivism <ul><li>The idea that technology is is entirely subordinate to the way it is used in particular, socio-historical, culturally specific contexts. </li></ul><ul><li>* There is a constant struggle between invention & appropriation, that is, what technology is designed to do, and what people actually do with it. </li></ul>
    12. 12. Social Realism <ul><li>The idea that we need to understand the relationship between technology, culture, and social interaction as more than a two-way street. </li></ul><ul><li>* It’s vital to back up our claims with evidence, and that we don’t forget other important influences such as economics and politics </li></ul>
    13. 13. ‘ Shaping & Being Shaped’ <ul><li>“ A technological system can be both cause and effect, it can shape or be shaped by society. As they grow larger and more complex, systems tend to be more shaping of a society and less shaped by it…” Rob Kling-Communication Scholar </li></ul><ul><li>* In early stages of technology, users have a stronger influence & as technology becomes for pervasive & invisible, it’s influences may get stronger & more subtle. </li></ul>
    14. 14. Factors when discussing the impact technologies (like the internet) have on people’s lives <ul><li>1. What the technology is supposed to do (i.e. it’s design & commercial ideologies </li></ul><ul><li>2. What the technology allows people to do (i.e. it’s practical or material affordances) </li></ul><ul><li>3. What people actually do with the technology (i.e. it’s uses & gratifications) </li></ul>