Cadiz2004

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A presentation made in 2004 utilising the concept of cultural traits as a means to interpret Internet based activities.

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Cadiz2004

  1. 1. We like… cultural traits in cyberculture <ul><li>Gordon Fletcher Information Systems Institute University of Salford, UK </li></ul><ul><li>Anita Greenhill Manchester Business School University of Manchester, UK </li></ul>
  2. 2. We like… cultural traits in cyberculture <ul><li>Using collected data of most popular search terms over a 16 month period </li></ul><ul><li>Popularity and persistence of interest centres around a small set of activities and ‘things’ </li></ul><ul><li>Identification of 5 dominant cultural traits from this data </li></ul><ul><li>A preference for freeness, participation, customisation, perversion and anonymity </li></ul><ul><li>These traits support acts of conflict and conformity </li></ul>
  3. 3. Cyberculture and Everyday Life <ul><li>Key claims </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Cyberculture is not distinct from the practices of everyday life </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Cyberculture is increasingly a synonym for contemporary culture </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The boundaries of the ‘virtual’ are arbitrary </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Exposure and participation in this culture does not directly correlate to Internet access </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Social solidarity is the synthesis of acts of conflict and conformity </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Conflictual ‘strange attractors’ intersect with mainstream power structure </li></ul></ul>
  4. 4. Defining Cyberculture <ul><li>Another name for mainstream culture? </li></ul><ul><li>Incorporates the accelerated and pervasive use of information and communications technologies </li></ul><ul><li>Not ‘just’ the deterministic consequence of particular technologies </li></ul><ul><li>A response and negotiation of existing ‘environmental’ conditions (following Sahlins’s claims) </li></ul><ul><li>This is an information rich environment </li></ul>
  5. 5. Information Rich Environment <ul><li>Not solely a ‘virtual’ phenomena </li></ul><ul><li>This environment accommodates both conflict and conformity </li></ul><ul><li>Environment promotes the longevity of information </li></ul><ul><li>Environment enables all information to be immediately accessible and retrievable </li></ul><ul><li>A density of information that provides results for any search term </li></ul>
  6. 6. Cultural Traits <ul><li>Identification of cultural traits is a contentious approach to the interpretation of culture </li></ul><ul><li>Variously defined and often found in an archaeological context </li></ul><ul><li>Identifying artefacts enables interpretation of traits </li></ul><ul><li>Search terms are cultural artefacts and a reflection of culture </li></ul><ul><li>The observed combination of traits and artefacts is the cultural complex of ‘our’ everyday life </li></ul>
  7. 7. Cultural Traits and Search Terms <ul><li>16 months of collected lists of the most popular search terms </li></ul><ul><li>Classified using the Universal Decimal Classification (UDC) scheme </li></ul><ul><li>The UDC enables consistency and comparability </li></ul><ul><li>Classification does not, in itself, identify traits but does indicate tendencies </li></ul><ul><li>Clustered together certain preferences can be seen - particularly freeness and perversion </li></ul>
  8. 8. Conflict and Cultural Traits <ul><li>A panopoly of moments - a continuous sequence of apparently random spectacles </li></ul><ul><li>Mainstream culture is drawn to ‘strange attractors’ including terrorist attacks, reality TV, murders and Halloween </li></ul><ul><li>The ‘strange attractors’ appeal to one or more of the dominant cultural traits </li></ul><ul><li>‘ Strange attractors’ are outside the routines of everyday life but necessary to sustain this ‘normality’ </li></ul>
  9. 9. Cultural Dynamism <ul><li>Predictable and unpredictable moments bring cultural change (possibly small and short-lived change) </li></ul><ul><li>The cultural negotiation of these moments produces cultural dynamism… </li></ul><ul><li>A dialectical movement between conflict and conformity enabled through dominant mainstream cultural traits </li></ul>

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