research papers utopia dystopia

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Research papers utopia dystopia

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Research papers utopia dystopia Similarly, the popular media have recognized the dystopian aspects of the Internet. In addition to its democratizing forces, the Internet has been celebrated as a potential tool for American politics. In secondary sources, authors analyze and interpret primary source materials. The populist model, research papers utopia dystopia contrast, emphasizes technology's role in altering the interaction between citizens and government. Related articles in Google Scholar.
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Interview format for research paper At this point in the diffusion of the Internet, it is important to identify what Careyp. Is the relationship between utopia and dystopia only one of opposition? ScloveR. Utopian, Dystopian, and Post-Apocalyptic Fiction. Not only is it close to impossible to forecast the effects of the Internet on society, but resume examples for cleaning jobs the medium itself continues to change at a remarkable rate. Dystopian interpretations of the Internet are no less prevalent today.

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SINCE FLANNERY OCONNOR ESSAYS ON THE CONTEMPORARY AMERICAN SHORT STORY

In other words, this theory explains the time lag between a technology's invention, its distribution to society, and the social adjustment that follows Westrum, , p. While the lag exists, unrealistic interpretations of the technology abound. In Ogburn's theory, some technologies are quickly followed by social institutional change and others are not. Ogburn not only believed that the cultural lag could best be seen with technology, he felt that technology was responsible for most social change.

The theory of cultural lag specifies that societies as a whole do not universally change in response to introductions of new technology. Ogburn points out that there are four stages to a cultural lag: technological, industrial, governmentmental, and social philosophical , p. With the introduction of a new technology, different sectors of society accept and adopt it at different speeds. The theory states that industry is the first sector to adjust to and acquire the technology.

After the industrial sector responds to the new technology, government structures adjust. One of the main ways that the state deals with new technology is by regulating it. Without governmental structures dealing with and regulating technology, the fourth stage of the cultural lag, that of social philosophies, cannot adjust.

It is within this fourth stage of the cultural lag that scholarship understands technology. While the lag exists, academic discussions regarding the topic tend to be skewed. Although conceptually simple, cultural lags are difficult to distinguish. Ogburn addresses why identification is so difficult. In contrast to mainstream historical theories that claim that the only way to see social and political phenomena is through hindsight, Ogburn's theory of cultural lag states that hindsight hinders identification of historic lags; once the lag has disappeared, the period of the cultural lag is forgotten.

Given the temporal qualities of the cultural lag, it is much easier to conceive of and distinguish lags in newer technologies than in older ones. Although it is no longer possible to see the actual cultural lags surrounding the diffusion of the earlier forms of communications technology, the four stages of cultural lag can be frequently identified. Examples of cultural lags in earlier communication technologies are provided by the telephone and the television.

Both of these technologies were identified as tools for democracy, as well as artifacts that would bring about the loss of privacy, the homogenization of society, indecent communication, and even revolution see, e. In both cases, business was the first to embrace these technologies and take advantage of their capabilities. The Internet has been said to be as powerful, if not more powerful than these older technologies.

As such, the cultural lag and the extreme interpretations of the technology that follow may be more extreme as well. Thirty-plus years after the notion of the cultural lag was first proposed, technology plays an even greater role in social change; and the Internet, as one of the newer and more diffused technologies, is having effects on societies around the world. Not only does technologically driven social change extend beyond the Western world, but it has also become the product of social change as well as the driving force behind it see, for example, Haraway, ; Wellman et al.

The Internet illustrates this point clearly: it not only drives society to change its behaviors but it responds to society as well. In fact, as the Internet's capabilities grow and its effects extend to more and more of the world's population, predicting how the technology will develop and how it will change society is a difficult task.

Not only is it close to impossible to forecast the effects of the Internet on society, but also the medium itself continues to change at a remarkable rate. In the words of Leiner et al. This new technology, developed by a college dropout, is reported as having been downloaded by over 32 million people in one year. Like the earlier technologies of the telephone and television, both utopian and dystopian visions of the Internet have been put forth.

The Internet has been heralded as the most powerful democratizing force in communications Association for Progressive Communications, Not only does it have the capabilities to give a voice to the powerless, but it is also said to be able to give the powerless access to the world Fisher, In addition to its democratizing forces, the Internet has been celebrated as a potential tool for American politics.

At this point in the diffusion of the Internet, it is important to identify what Carey , p. Unique to the Internet is its ability to work like a number of different communications technologies. Because there are different resources on the Internet that use different modalities of communication, Ogburn's cultural lag is even more visible than it was in the older communications technologies.

In the section that follows, we focus on the extreme interpretations of the Internet that inundate the literature on the technology during this period of the cultural lag. As we have already argued, one of the effects of a cultural lag are extreme and unrealistic interpretations of the technology within the discourse surrounding it. This antinomy pits the political utility of emerging information technology with the potential for that same technology to further fragment society and increase anomie among its members.

In the section that follows, we describe this dichotomy in terms of utopian and dystopian positions. Perhaps the most salient aspect of the utopian position is the implied notion that there are technological solutions to social problems see, for example, Budge, ; Cox, ; Ward, These solutions are often described in terms of technology's effects on communitarian and populist forms of democratic participation. The communitarian argument suggests that the Internet will facilitate civic engagement by increasing the ease of communication among citizens by transcending geographic and social boundaries.

The argument suggests that the bonds produced by this interaction will in turn encourage the formation of new deliberative spaces and new forms of collective action. The populist model, in contrast, emphasizes technology's role in altering the interaction between citizens and government. Ward points out that the mechanisms of change are typically described in terms of on-line referenda and initiatives. The utopian position is largely premised on the notion that the communication medium is paramount in determining effects McLuhan, This approach usually touts the democratic potential of computer-mediated communication by referencing the actual design of the network.

Through this network that provides communicative interaction, democratic participation and a sense of community are facilitated Rheingold, Stated simply, utopians posit that cyberspace will make it easier for people to communicate both politically and otherwise. The utopian position tends to follow through with one of Habermas's main interests , , arguing that the communicative action, which emerges as a result of this interaction, can limit the subversion of deliberative democracy at the hands of market-driven imperatives.

In contrast to the utopian perspective that focuses on the effects of the Internet on society, the dystopian position has its roots in understanding the phenomenon of the experience see, for example, Barber, ; Slouka, ; Stoll, Rather than viewing the Internet merely as a tool, the dystopian position emphasizes the potential of the medium to affect communication in such a way that it may negatively alter the practices and spaces of communication that had previously nurtured democracy.

The dystopian argument claims that democracy crumbles as the social fabric of society becomes fragmented and people become more isolated from one another. Within many of the dystopian arguments, the influence of Arendt's arguments concerning totalitarian regimes are visible Holub, The dystopian position also argues that a similar fragmentation will result if face-to-face interactions are supplanted by mediated ones Barber, In addition to the loss of strong bonds among members of a society, many critics agree that the Internet will limit connections between central and peripheral actors in society see, e.

Castells, ; Luke, ; Soros, Participants at the center of an information-based communicative structure and those on the periphery of that structure will be less connected than ever before. Rather than facilitating political engagement among citizens, this accelerated rhythm is described by dystopians as impeding thoughtful deliberation.

Beyond these dominant themes of utopian and dystopian visions of the Internet, it should be noted that a third theme, which can be described as technorealism, is also represented in the literature see, for example, Bimber, ; Calhoun, ; Monberg, This position tends to be held by journalists and technology professionals as well as academics and usually takes a more modest approach to claims concerning the Internet's potential impact Wilhelm, It usually presents a more tempered view of the Internet's effects on society in comparison to the utopian and dystopian positions.

Calhoun , p. This notion that the medium is too new for scholars to determine effects is consistent with Ogburn's idea of a cultural lag. In addition to the academic predictions of the Internet's impact on society, there have been a number of popular pronouncements concerning the technology. Utopian and dystopian visions of technology are probably most clearly manifest in artifacts of mass culture such as novels, art, and the media.

Ever since Gibson's Neuromancer was released in , his work has embodied a dystopian vision of what the world is becoming with the advent of the Internet. In the end, the young and the hip save the day from the potential evil that has threatened to destroy the Internet as they know it. Like the novel, corporate advertising has also promoted utopian visions of the technology.

Dystopian interpretations of the Internet are no less prevalent today. Both privacy and content on the Internet have been a subject of great social concern and represent two of the most dominant debates about the potential negative effects of this communication technology. Stories about cyber-lurkers and personal information being obtained through the Internet prevail.

Questions about content on the Internet confront Internet users from all sectors of society. At a recent conference, for example, an academic argued that with all of the indecent information and cyber-smut on the Internet, it was an open question whether it was appropriate to use the Internet for publication or distribution of scholarly work. Similarly, the popular media have recognized the dystopian aspects of the Internet.

As the technology diffuses across American society and more people log on to the Internet, dystopian and utopian claims about the technology's capabilities grow. Although the Supreme Court overturned the Act on the grounds of the First Amendment, criticism of the indecent speech in many different areas of the Internet are still widespread and come from organizations as diverse as the Anti-Defamation League and Roman Catholics see, for example, Harmon, At the same time, people around the world are celebrating the democratizing capabilities of this new technology see, for example, Fisher, ; Haraway, ; Sclove, The actual structure of the pending regulations have strong implications for the diffusion of the technology both throughout the United States and beyond it to other countries in the developed and developing world.

Ogburn's notion of a cultural lag points to the future while focusing on the present. In doing so, the idea also aids us in understanding the extreme responses to the technology and helps us to be more critical of the academic literature on the subject. James Carey states that new communications technologies repeat old patterns of diffusion. Although the computer and satellite have reduced time to a picosecond, an instantaneous present, and the globe to a point where everyone is in the same place, this is simply the latest chapter in an old tale.

The case of Napster provides a timely example of the latest chapter in this old tale. Although actors from all sides of the issue argue over the utopian and dystopian effects this technology will have on business and society, in time society will adjust to the cultural lag and interpretations will become more realistic. As was the case with the telephone, television, or even the fax machine, while society became used to the capabilities of the technology, claims about their effects on society became less extreme.

Whether one views the Internet and all of its technological trappings as a panacea for problems facing democracy or not, the truth about the Internet's capabilities, like most truth, lies somewhere in between these utopian and dystopian interpretations. In order to understand realistically this technology that is changing society, we must recognize the extreme readings of its effects as what they are; products of a cultural lag between the diffusion of the Internet across society and society's adoption of the technology.

Arendt , H. The origins of totalitarianism San Diego: Harvest. Google Scholar. Google Preview. Association for Progressive Communications. Barber , B. A passion for democracy: American essays. Breslow , H. Civil society, political economy, and the Internet.

Jones Ed. London: Sage Publications. Buchstein , H. Bytes that bite: The Internet and deliberative democracy. Constellations , 4 , — Calhoun , C. The infrastructure of modernity. Berkeley: University of California Press. Carey , J.

Communication as culture: Essays on media and society. Boston: Unwin Hyman. Castells , M. The information city. Cambridge: Basil Blackwell Ltd. Cohen , A. A crisis of content. Time Magazine. De Sola Pool , I. Forecasting the telephone : A retrospective technology assessment of the telephone.

Dean , J. Virtually citizens. Derrida , J. Specters of Marx. In translated by Paggy Kamuf. New York: Routledge. Fischer , C. America calling: A social history of the telephone to Fisher , D. Rumoring theory and the Internet: A framework for analyzing the grassroots. Social Science Computer Review , 16 , 2 , — Gibson , W.

London: Gollancz. Greenberger , M. The computers of tomorrow. Atlantic Monthly , , 5 , May, 63 — Greenfeld , K. Meet the Napster. Time Magazine , 2 October, 60 — Grimaldi , J. Napster ordered to shut down: Piracy of music judge says. The Washington Post , 27 July, A Grossman , L. Originally a literary genre created by Thomas More, it is also a tradition of political thinking, a philosophical concept and a way to characterise techno-scientific narratives cyber-utopias, transhumanism, etc.

Cut-off worlds, paradise lost, millenial futures, underground societies: these different figures of utopia display its many significations and question its relationship to history. Is utopia the nostalgia of a golden age, the longing for a perfect society or the description of a fictional nowhere? Surely, utopia leaves few people indifferent. It can be praised but also harshly criticised.

In the philosophical scene, utopia has been accused of being a fundamentally unrealistic and potentially totalitarian way of thinking Jonas. On the other hand, it has been described as a means to explore possibilities that would otherwise remain unseen Jameson, Ricoeur and it has been an important conceptual tool to rejuvenate Marxism Bloch, Benjamin, Abensour. Political controversies are often tied to philosophical debates. In line with the multidisciplinary scope of the journal, this issue aims to publish fresh theoretical approaches of utopia, but also sociological, anthropological, political and aesthetical works focusing on specific utopias.

The following questions may be addressed by the contributors: in which ways is utopia linked to myth, ideology and phantasmagoria? Is the relationship between utopia and dystopia only one of opposition? Is it possible to talk about utopia s without taking a stand in the debate, and perhaps nearly becoming a utopian thinker? What are the political uses of utopia in breaking with doxa and dominant ideology, mobilising the desires of the masses, and elaborating alternative political projects?

In what sense is it possible to talk about literary, artistic of architectural utopias today? Which current social experiments, local or global, can adequately be characterised as utopian? How should we consider technological or scientific utopias that may, paradoxically, threaten the possibility for our societies to control their future?

Those interested in publishing in the third issue of the Journal should send a characters or words abstract to anthropologicalmaterialism gmail.

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