From the Writings of
Abstracts and Online Versions
'Uncapher' - 'One Ka Fire' - 'Un Cipher'
Selected Recent Writings:
Information Infrastructure: Lessons from Restructuring the Internet"
- A medium length text examining the emerging geometry of the information
networks, suggesting that instead of 'highways' we should think of the
as increasingly as geodesic structures. Going beyond Huber's repord to
the U.S. Justice Dept. on how the geodesic telecommunications network undermined
traditional policy frameworks, this article, the first of four, broadens
the approach, in keeping with Buckminster Fuller's original vision, to
examine the historical and conceptual issues involved. I argue, for example,
that we need to conceptualize the geodesic information infrastructure to
assess changes in access and individual and political power. Subsequent
papers go on to relate this emerging geometry to (2) business; (3) community
activism; (4) education.
of Modernity and Post-Modern Difference: Communication and Cooperation
in the Light of Revolution Iran"
- This medium length paper examine the importance and nature of difference
in the process of interpersonal, intercultural, and inter-disciplinary
'dialogue' and 'collaboration,' and in the description of 'reality.' Using
the example of Revolutionary Iran, this paper assesses how traditional
scholastic debate might aid our understanding of Modernity and Post-modernity.
The paper suggests the importance of considering the impact of new media
and an aggressive, conflictual, 'competitive' approach to rhetoric. It
would appear, to paraphrase FCC Chair, Newt Minow, while competition brings
out the best in products, it often brings out the worst in people. I also
enveigh against a pseudo "post-modernism," that hyper-modernist
posing that sees post-modernism as the latest and greatest cultural trend.
Situationg postmodernism 'after' modernism simply works to invoke traditional
modernist elitism (and terms of transformation), without revealing the
important cultural dimensions opened up by postmodernism.
This article (and its associated lecture) is associated with a series
of articles I have been writing on compassion and post-modernism, and which
will include investigations of such writers as James Joyce, and the historical
and media transformations associated with the beginnings of Modernism and
the end of the 'Afro-Eurasian' medieval culture. Central to my discussion
in this article is also an assessment of: (1) the political and cultural
consequences of relationships and differences that end up being described
in terms of identities; (2) criticism of the metaphor of the 'network;'
(3) and a paradoxical examination of possible practices of sharing 'beneath'
theories of difference.
Grassroots Telecommunication: Big Sky Telegraph and Its Community"
- A long text. Based on interviews, site visits, and an extensive collection
of secondary materials, primarily between January 1988 when Big Sky Telegraph
first went online, and January 1990, the research provides an ethnographic
case study of the way social, cultural, economic, and preexisting communication
arrangements, disjunctures, and practices come to frame the definition,
acceptance, support, and uses of a new medium. Developing from Prof. Arjun
Appadurai's framework of disjunctive global cultural pathways of the ethnoscape,
technoscape, finanscape, mediascape, and ideoscape, the research elucidates
three additional theories of socially located definitions, of cultural
pathways, and of technological or media ecology to explore how these global
cultural flows come to be inflected into and redefined by local contexts
and cultural politics. I have been arguing that 'online culture' cannot
be seen in isolation from what gets behavior online, that from the perspective
of a 'cultural ecology' we cannot isolate one environment from the other.
I am currently preparing to expand this study, both ethnographically and
the Mediascape in the Transnational Cultural Flow: Learning to Theorize
an Emerging Global Grassroots Infrastructure.
- This three part paper explores elements of my approach both to globalization
theory, and to the way that I think media theory must be reformulated to
assess the landscape between 'interpersonal' and 'mass' media, suggesting
that a multiply mediated, decentralizing, increasingly globalized realm
of computer concerencing and hand to hand distribution networks may be
developing new organizational and social arrangments. I feel strongly that
we must move along a new middle path, and it was some of the ideas here
that may have resulted serious differences at my master's level research.
The paper then posits that the global mediascape thus defined needs to
be refracted into three fundamental dimensions with relatively distinctive
freedoms and limitations: a grassroots practice oriented realm of shared
affinities, a public sphere of collective debate and action over physical
bodies; and a transnational level using advanced communications to develop
massive economies of scale: grassroots, nation state, and trans-national
corporations, each disjunctive yet acting as parameters to one another.
Grassroots does not neccessarily mean empowered. The paper concludes using
the case of the flow of VCR's to clarify this complex relationship.
Communities/New Communication: Big Sky Telegraph and its Community
- A chapter in Smith and Kollack's Communites
in Cyberspace: Perspectives on New Forms of Social Organization Routledge..
- I have published a number of papers, such as the lead article in The
Humanist's Cyberspace issue, entitled, "Trouble in Cyberspace:
Civil Liberties in the Information Age." This same issue published
Prof. Lawrence Tribe's lecture on "The Constitution in Cyberspace."
I have helped organize several conferences as well.
Advanced Information Retrieval
- I had been an organizers of the information on both the ACTLab's Web page
and Gopher server, including setting up the rudiments of an RTF server. In
case you haven't explored it yet, look to the ACTLab's
home page down to the different 'World Wide Web Gateways.' I have
been also helping out and am interested in the success of the Center
for Research on Communication Technology & Society
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