Renowned media scholar Sherry Turkle investigates how a flight from conversation undermines our relationships, creativity, and productivity--and why reclaiming face-to-face conversation can help us regain lost ground.
We live in a technological universe in which we are always communicating. And yet we have sacrificed conversation for mere connection.Preeminent author and researcher Sherry Turkle has been studying digital culture for over thirty years. Long an enthusiast for its possibilities, here she investigates a troubling consequence: at work, at home, in politics, and in love, we find ways around conversation, tempted by the possibilities of a text or an email in which we don't have to look, listen, or reveal ourselves. We develop a taste for what mere connection offers. The dinner table falls silent as children compete with phones for their parents' attention. Friends learn strategies to keep conversations going when only a few people are looking up from their phones. At work, we retreat to our screens although it is conversation at the water cooler that increases not only productivity but commitment to work. Online, we only want to share opinions that our followers will agree with - a politics that shies away from the real conflicts and solutions of the public square. The case for conversation begins with the necessary conversations of solitude and self-reflection. They are endangered: these days, always connected, we see loneliness as a problem that technology should solve. Afraid of being alone, we rely on other people to give us a sense of ourselves, and our capacity for empathy and relationship suffers. We see the costs of the flight from conversation everywhere: conversation is the cornerstone for democracy and in business it is good for the bottom line. In the private sphere, it builds empathy, friendship, love, learning, and productivity. But there is good news: we are resilient. Conversation cures. Based on five years of research and interviews in homes, schools, and the workplace, Turkle argues that we have come to a better understanding of where our technology can and cannot take us and that the time is right to reclaim conversation. The most human--and humanizing--thing that we do. The virtues of person-to-person conversation are timeless, and our most basic technology, talk, responds to our modern challenges. We have everything we need to start, we have each other.
This major text offers a critical reappraisal of the contemporary practice of cultural studies. It focuses in particular on the contribution of cultural studies to the understanding of media, communications and popular cultures in contemporary societies. The contributors, an outstanding group of internationally acclaimed scholars, examine topics such as: the different strands of cultural studies and how they are developed; whether cultural studies is a coherent discipline; tensions and debates within cultural studies; alternative or related approaches to contemporary media and society; and the movement by cultural studies revisionists towards more empirical and sociological modes of analysis.
In Making is Connecting, David Gauntlett argues that through makingthings, people engage with the world and create connections witheach other. Both online and offline, we see that people want tomake their mark on the world, and to make connections.
During the previous century, the production of culture becamedominated by professional elite producers. But today, a vast arrayof people are making and sharing their own ideas, videos, and othercreative material online, as well as engaging in real-world crafts, art projects, and hands-on experiences.
Gauntlett argues that we are seeing a shift from a'sit-back-and-be-told culture' to a'making-and-doing culture'. People are rejectingtraditional teaching and television, and making their own learningand entertainment instead. Drawing on evidence from psychology, politics, philosophy, and economics, he shows how this shift isnecessary and essential for the happiness and survival of modernsocieties.
During the worst years of apartheid, the most popular show on television in South Africa--among both Black and White South Africans--was The Cosby Show. Why did people living under a system built on the idea that Black people were inferior and threatening flock to a show that portrayed African Americans as comfortably mainstream? Starring Mandela and Cosby takes up this paradox, revealing the surprising impact of television on racial politics.The South African government maintained a ban on television until 1976, and according to Ron Krabill, they were right to be wary of its potential power. The medium, he contends, created a shared space for communication in a deeply divided nation that seemed destined for civil war along racial lines. At a time when it was illegal to publish images of Nelson Mandela, Bill Cosby became the most recognizable Black man in the country, and, Krabill argues, his presence in the living rooms of white South Africans helped lay the groundwork for Mandela's release and ascension to power. Weaving together South Africa's political history and a social history of television, Krabill challenges conventional understandings of globalization, offering up new insights into the relationship between politics and the media.
When the first edition of The Media Monopoly was published in 1983, critics called Ben Bagdikian's warnings about the chilling effects of corporate ownership and mass advertising on the nation's news alarmist. Since then, the number of corporations controlling most of America's daily newspapers, magazines, radio and television stations, book publishers, and movie companies has dwindled from fifty to ten to five.The most respected critique of modern mass media ever issued is now published in a completely updated and revised twentieth anniversary edition. 'Ben Bagdikian has written the first great media book of the twenty-first century. The New Media Monopoly will provide a roadmap to understanding how we got here and where we need to go to make matters better.'
-Robert McChesney, author of Rich Media, Poor Democracy
The rise of digital media has been widely regarded as transforming the nature of our social experience in the twenty-first century. The speed with which new forms of connectivity and communication are being incorporated into our everyday lives often gives us little time to stop and consider the social implications of those practices. Nonetheless, it is critically important that we do so, and this sociological introduction to the field of digital technologies is intended to enable a deeper understanding of their prominent role in everyday life.
The fundamental theoretical and ethical debates on the sociology of the digital media are presented in accessible summaries, ranging from economy and technology to criminology and sexuality. Key theoretical paradigms are explored through a broad range of contemporary social phenomena - from social networking and virtual lives to the rise of cybercrime and identity theft, from the utopian ideals of virtual democracy to the Orwellian nightmare of the surveillance society, from the free software movement to the implications of online shopping.As an entry-level pathway for students in sociology, media, communications and cultural studies, the aim of this work is to situate the rise of digital media within the context of a complex and rapidly changing world.