MR1 Guiding Questions for Module Response 3%
After you have completed the assigned readings for this module, read the commentary provided below and write a response to the commentary and the questions
noted at the end of the commentary. As well, please offer some insightful reflections on the other assigned readings for this module
(http://brocknewmedia.wordpress.com.) Please pay attention to your writing style – grammar and punctuation matter.
?Barbrook and Cameron’s THE CALIFORNIAN IDEOLOGY traces a history of the current online world to a peculiar and seemingly contradictory origin in California.
They argue that the participatory (even utopian) tone that pervades the online experience stems from California’s 1970?s ‘hippie’ culture but that the technological
advances and convergence that (ultimately) produced the Internet came straight from the same region’s robust military industrial complex. There is, then, a seeming
paradox at the heart of the online experience: a set of utopian communicative cultural practices that are sustained by technological apparatus with strong ties to
hierarchical military and capital power relations. As [you] read future articles in the course, you may well find yourself encountering arguments that attempt to
explain the functioning of online life by way of referring to one of these two apparently contradictory “origin stories” (i.e., the internet is a ‘tool’ of the ?maaaan? or,
alternately, the Internet will finally bring about the people’s revolution and make us all one big happy family)?What we need to do is to use Barbrook and Cameron’s
insights in order to find a point of view that does not “take sides” but which sees the apparent contradiction not as a case of “both/and” rather than “either/or”.
[You will explore] the multiple conflicted forces that went into shaping the Internet (and online life) cannot be resolved into a simple perspective that either praises
or condemns these new forms of social interaction. There is, and likely always will be, a tension at the heart of online life between control and freedom and, further,
that any useful argument concerning online life has always to be mindful of this tension rather than ignore it by “taking sides” and/or offering up simplistic
?[T]he term “convergence” is used equally to both condemn and praise online life because it is a term that focuses our attention specifically on the technologies
and practices that digital tools and the Internet have made possible. It is instructive, then, to see how the concept of convergence circulates in both academic
discourse and in everyday discussions. What we want to address are the various ways in which the concept of “convergence” is used to justify arguments about
online life by individuals (and organizations) with different points of view. Similarly, we need to consider what “buying into” this or that POV on convergence entails:
does it usher in a new way of conceiving of mass communication? Does it “dupe” us into hordes of “dumbified” media consumers? Does it empower a new
generation of independent, peer-driven media producer-consumers?…? Professor Dale Bradley