8:30-9:00 a.m.: Arrival, coffee
9:00-9:15 a.m.: Opening comments from pre-conference organizers
9:15-10:45 a.m.: Roundtable 1: Historiography and the Very Idea of the New
continuing concern to the study of history and to the study of new
media is the question of reflexivity: how do we understand the
terms we apply to new media? And what are we to make of the
changes in our own systems of thought? This roundtable will
address these questions.
Eric W. Rothenbuhler, "What Is New? What Is Not?"
Carl Therrien, "The History of Video Games: Teleological Illusion and
Other Methodological Issues"
Michele Rosenthal & Rivka Ribak, "Writing a history of ambivalent use:
The case of alternative communities and old/new media"
L. Suzanne Suggs, Chris McIntyre & Joan Cowdery , "Health
Communication and New Media: Just Another TV Rerun?"
James Hay, "Watching Ourselves Through the New Tele-visuality"
Dmitry Epstein, "Following the "Digital Divide": Historically Situating
the Construct in Realm of Communication Theories and Theories of Development"
Paul Skalski, "The Parallel Development of Film and Video Games:
History and Implications"
10:45-11:15 a.m.: Coffee Break
11:15-12:45 p.m.: Roundtable 2: Media History Old & New
roundtable pulls together a set of papers that involve comparisons
(implicit or explicit) between new media and media with a longer
history. This kind of comparative focus has been an essential
component of historical work on technology and media for some time.
Michael Zimmer, "Renvois of the Past, Present, and Future: Hyperlinks,
Discourse Networks, and the Structuring of Knowledge from the Encyclopedie to Web 2.0"
Noah Arceneaux, "Department Stores and Home Shopping, 1911-1950"
Ingrid Erickson, "Where Are You Now? Locating Ourselves and Others
in Mediated Communication"
Merav Katz-Kimchi, "Historicizing Utopian Popular Discourse on the
Internet: Positions, Comparison, and Contextualization"
Fernando Bermejo, "Audience Manufacture in Historical Perspective"
Teresa M. Harrison, "Wielding New Media: Exploring the History of
Engagement with Media and Community"
Sabryna Cornish, "The Discursive Practices of Media Convergence: When
Old Media Meet New Media"
12:45-1:15 p.m.: Lunch
1:15-2:15 p.m.: Panel Discussion: Doing New Media History: A Roundtable
does it mean to recount the history of new media? Does it mean we
should study the development and stabilization of media technologies?
Or does it mean that we should examine the interaction of new media
technologies with various social and cultural practices and
institutions? And what does it mean to work critically in a historical
tradition? Can a historian recount the past without slipping into a
celebration of inventors and inventions that "changed the world?"
2:15-3:50 p.m.: Roundtable 3: Historicizing the New, Part I: Cultures, Meanings, and Codes.
media have histories of their own. Many of these histories have
yet to be told. These papers approach the history of new media
through an emphasis on how they relate to certain meanings and ideas.
Melanie Chan, "A Critical Study of Representations of Embodiment and
Immersion in Virtual Reality"
Carolyn Kane, "Decoding Color Codes: The Origins and Ideologies of
Color in Computer Art"
Hiesun Cecilia Suhr, "The Role of Participatory Media in Consecrating
the Arts: Underpinning the paradoxes in the artistic field of Myspace.com"
Stephen Coleman, David E. Morrison, & Simeon J. Yates, "When
Prophecy Fails and the Failure of Understanding"
Kelli Burns, "A Historical Examination of the Development of Social
Media and Its Application to the Public Relations Industry"
Niels BrŸgger, "Website History"
M. I. Franklin, "The Browser Wars and Struggles for Control of the
Internet: The Next Generation"
3:50-4:15 p.m.: Coffee, Tea Break
4:15-5:15 p.m.: Roundtable 4: Historicizing the New, Part II: Institutions, Organizations, and Networks
history of new media will, perforce, require researchers to pay
particular attention to the structures that underlay the creation and
use of media. This roundtable focuses precisely on the social
structure portion of the equation.
Gado Alzouma, "The State, Media, and New Information and
Communication Technologies in Niger: A Historical Perspective
Brian OÕNeill, "DAB Eureka-147: A European Technological Imaginary
for Digital Radio"
Zizi Papacharissi, "The Virtual Geographies of Social Networks: A
Comparative Analysis of Facebook, LinkedIn and ASmallWorld"
John Carey & Martin Elton, "The Other Path to the Web: The Forgotten
Role of Videotex and Other Early Online Services"
Lonny J. Brooks, "The Long Arm of the American Futurist Project:
Connecting the Dots between Internet Origins, Future Scenarios, and New Media"
5:15-6:15 p.m.: Reception
The State, Media, and New Information and Communication Technologies in Niger: An Historical Perspective
paper examines the relationships between the state, media, and new
information and communication technologies in Niger between 1960 and
2007. Two important periods are distinguished in these relationships:
the period after the 1960 independence, essentially characterized by
the state monopoly on media and framed by the ideology of
nation-construction, and the period after 1991 corresponding to the
institutionalization of democracy, the diversification of media and
freedom of expression. This second period is marked by a conflictual
representation of the role of the media in democracy. However, a new
"ideology" is now arising which seeks to reconcile the media and the
state around the use of new information and communication technologies,
viewed as tools for a leapfrogging development. This new utopia is
shared by governmental agents as well as by members of the civil
society, members of the media and members of international and national
aid agencies and NGOs who all share a set of dispositions and
worldviews which are highly technocentrist.
aim of this paper is to show how these technocentrist ideas are
expressed in governmental policies and international donors' projects
and programs formulations and how they are affecting the role assigned
to media in development as compared to the past. I am arguing that
these ideas are strongly correlated with specific social positions and
interests; that they are local expressions of global interests carried
by new elite, a transnational community that cuts across
organizational, national and continental boundaries (Uimonen, 2003).
G. (2005), Myths of Digital Technology in Africa. Leapfrogging
Development? Global Media and Communication, Vol. 1, No. 3, 339-356.
P. (2003), Networking as a Way of Life: The Transnational Movement of
Internet Pioneers. In New Technologies at Work: People, Screen, and
Social Virtuality. Garsten,C., and Wulff, H. (eds.), Oxford, New York:
Department Stores and Home Shopping, 1911-1950
of interactive television and other new media technologies frequently
promise that the distinction between consuming entertainment and
shopping, if indeed such a distinction still exists, will soon be
annihilated. Every item shown on the screen, from fashion to furniture,
could conceivably be purchased by the viewer/consumer with a few clicks
of the remote. In such scenarios, electronic media serves to display
goods to consumers and also makes possible the concept of remote
paper explores this particular method for conceptualizing electronic
media by examining ways in which department stores originally promoted
radio and television broadcasting. Before the radio boom of the 1920s,
an era dubbed "radio's pre-history" by Susan Douglas, department stores
experimented with wireless telegraphy and allowed passengers on luxury
liners to place orders while still at sea. In the following decade,
once the practice of broadcasting became widespread, dozens of
department stores operated their own radio stations and sponsored
programs on others. Government regulators and industry critics frowned
upon the practice of direct advertising during radio's early years,
preferring instead the more restrained form of sponsorship known as
indirect advertising. The stores, however, found ways to promote
themselves and their products without alienating listeners. The
department store approach to radio led eventually to the spread of
"radio shopping shows" in the late 1920s; a female announcer would
describe the sales of the day and provide a phone number for interested
customers. When broadcasting added the visual dimension and television
arrived, stores were again among the earliest group of adopters. They
continued to sponsor shopping programs, with the viewers' home
television screen functioning quite literally as display window.
Admittedly, these historical precedents were not as instantaneous as
current e-commerce/home-shopping scenarios, though their existence does
indicate that commercial interests often recognize the retail
possibilities of new technologies before the process of mainstream
diffusion has even begun.
Audience Manufacture in Historical Perspective
aim of this paper is to examine the process of audience manufacture in
new media by contrasting it with the commodification of the audience of
previous communication media. Since Dallas Smythe's (1977) proposal to
consider that the commodity produced by mass media is the audience
rather than the content, the commodification of the audience has become
a fruitful entry point for the analysis of the political economy of
communication. However, few attempts have been made at (1)
contextualizing from a historical point of view this manufacturing
process and (2) using this historical contextualization to understand
the role of advertising in the process of commercialization of the
Internet. The historical contextualization will allow us to examine the
tension between the persisting interest of the advertising industry in
trading audiences and the need to adapt the manufacturing process to
the specific characteristics of different communication media. In
previous mass media, this tension reached over time a point of unstable
equilibrium in which different measurement procedures were developed to
account for audience attention in terms of its exposure to content.
However, this type of equilibrium has not been reached in the
manufacturing process of online users. In spite of multiple attempts,
the adaptation of audience measurement procedures for manufacturing
Internet audiences that started in the mid 90's has not been able to
generate a consensus among the different industry stakeholders. This
lack of consensus is manifest in the very different approaches used to
measure the exposure of online users to specific content. In contrast
with this traditional approach focused on exposure, and starting around
2002, new procedures have been developed—particularly by search
engines, with the leading role of Google—that aim at
manufacturing online audiences not in terms of attention/exposure but
in terms of interest/language. These new procedures, indigenous to the
Internet, circumvent all traditional forms of audience measurement,
reshape the advertising landscape, and shed new light into the
commercialization process of new media. It is the contrast between
these traditional and new approaches to the commodification of the
audience that serves as the central thread of this paper.
Smythe, D.W. (1977) Communications: Blindspot of Western Marxism. Canadian Journal of Political and Social Theory, 1(3), 1-27.
Brooks, Lonny J.
The Long Arm of the American Futurist Project: Connecting the dots between Internet origins, future scenarios, and new media
new media historically is a messy process especially in assessing the
multiple claims as to who invented the principal elements of the
Internet. Often missing in this exercise are linkages between the
founders of Internet architecture and the agendas they pursue alongside
their digital creations. Paul Baran, for example, is credited with
developing the idea of packet switching, the principal ingredient
necessary for a decentralized digital network to function. What is
often overlooked is the subsequent think tank he founded in 1968 to
envision future stories where digital technology and culture became
institutionally narrated: The Institute For the Future. By historically
investigating the inherited, performance-oriented practices in creating
future narratives (known as future scenarios) of computing and
bio-digital technologies, I follow their circulation into corporate,
public policy domains as a form of narrative currency and social
capital. Future scenarios, created for consumption in American
organizational arenas, shape an emerging digital culture. Through a
detailed ethnographic case study of the nonprofit thinktank The
Institute For the Future (IFTF), I trace the historical paths of
organizational and individual actors in sense making exercises
imagining future digital worlds—as they become staging platforms
to distribute new media rhetoric. Viewed as a gestalt of business
fictions, future scenarios exist within a broader American futurist
project born within the American military-industrial context of World
War II where the long arm of their narrative reach materializes a
future world as a form of anticipatory new media advocacy. The
individuals central to this process find themselves as agents for
either the closing down, opening up, or negotiating through, the
nuanced social possibilities of new media technologies—as
lobbyists for performing in a digital future tense.
no one would dispute that the internet has been an important part of
our communicative infrastructure for some years now. Nevertheless,
internet history is a relatively blank sheet, not to mention the
sub-discipline of website history that can be considered an emerging
discipline at the intersection between media history and internet
history, and that regards the individual website as the unifying entity
of the historical analysis.
This paper puts on the agenda some of the new and fundamental
theoretical and methodological problems within the field of website
history. The focus will be on questions emanating from the specific
being of one of the main sources: the website itself. The discussion
will take as its starting point the research project entitled "The
History of dr.dk 1996-2006" — one of the first attempts to write
the history of an individual website (the history of the website of
Danmarks Radio, the Danish Public Service Broadcasting Corporation; the
project is funded by the Danish Research Council for the Humanities and
the Danish Ministry of Culture).
Since websites are dynamic they must be archived in order to create a
stable object of study, but what are the problems related to the use of
archived websites compared to other major media types such as news
papers, radio or TV? Taking this general question as a point of
departure the paper will address the following four clusters of
1) Website history: What are the possible analytical objets of a
history of a website? And what sources can be used?
2) The website: What should be understood by 'website'? How can we
conceptualize the website in terms of medium and text?
3) The archived website: What characterizes the archived website as
document? — a question that will be addressed both from a
theoretical perspective and based on the findings of the first
international test of the appearance of various archived versions of
the same website from the same date in different archives.
4) Website philology: Since more archived copies of a given website are
very likely to be different from one another, and since we cannot
expect to find an original in the form of the website as it actually
looked on the internet at a given time, how should we then make use of
archived websites in historical studies?
A Historical Examination of the Development of Social Media and Its Application to the Public Relations Industry
media have directly impacted the processes of communication and
relationship building, not just among individuals, but also between
organizations and their publics. With communication and relationship
building often the responsibility of public relations practitioners,
these professionals have recognized their critical role in helping
organizations succeed in this new environment as well as the need to
rethink previous approaches. Social media applications for public
relations may date back to 1997 when Steve Gibson was hired by Ritual
Entertainment to be their online public relations director. In this
capacity, he blogged for the company and is credited with being the
first hired blogger ever.
much has been written about the development of social media, the
relationship between social media and the public relations industry has
not been documented. This paper tracks the development of social media
and the implementation of its various forms as public relations tools,
including blogs, podcasts and video casts, social networking, RSS, and
wikis. Also discussed is how traditional public relations instruments,
such as press releases, have been transformed to incorporate social
media tools. Not only do practitioners employ new tools and
technologies, but the social media landscape also requires a rethinking
of strategy, research, and measurement. Practitioners have responded to
social media by seeking new sources of influence, building trust with
audiences by being more transparent, and recognizing some loss of
control over the message. Interviews with public relations
professionals are used to illustrate the increasing acceptance of
social media in public relations as well as changing expectations over
the past ten years.
Carey, John & Martin Elton
The Other Path to the Web: The Forgotten Role of Videotex and Other Early Online Services
about the origins of the Web generally start with a U.S. defense
department project that began in the late 1960s, subsequently expanded
to include universities and research laboratories, then later evolved
into a service for the public in the mid 1990s: ARPANET --- NSFnet ---
The Internet --- WWW. However, the content that eventually
populated the Web - information, shopping, communication, games and
advertising, as well as how the public learned to interact with online
content, had a long history of development via videotex and other
online services. These are largely forgotten, except by a few
scholars who have kept the history alive. Videotex and other
online services such as information databanks, computer conferencing,
independent electronic mail services, proprietary electronic banking,
pc bulletin boards, and online services for education groups or other
non-profit organizations are either unknown to or considered irrelevant
by the netizen community. This paper will argue that the
generally accepted history of the Web is fundamentally flawed by not
acknowledging the major contribution of these other services to the
online world we use today.
of the early online services failed (although there were exceptions
such as Minitel in France and later, AOL in the US) but they
contributed significantly to a knowledge base that would help develop
services on the Web such as news, narrowcast community content, e-mail,
social networks, games, shopping, banner ads and even auctions.
Through the industry leader, AOL, they also brought millions of users
to the Web in the mid 1990s. What was learned in the extensive
research about these services is very relevant to the current new media
environment. It can also inform us at a more theoretical level
about the diffusion of innovations and how the public learned to interact
with media. The context for the emergence of these services is
informative as well: government policies about whether to support
development; industry investment out of fear that they might be left
out; and the technology infrastructure needed to support new services.
A Critical Study of Representations of Embodiment and Immersion in Virtual Reality
A Critical study of representations of embodiment and immersion in virtual reality
use of the term virtual reality has been accredited to computer
scientist and musician Jaron Lanier. To begin with Lanier was enamored
with the term because it was quirky and contradictory. However Lanier
subsequently claimed that he found virtual reality to be problematic
mainly due to the hype and overly optimistic expectations that have
become associated with it. As Erik Davis points out the term virtual
reality acquired cultural currency during the 1980s and 1990s
Ôhitting the mass brainstem like a rush of crack, the term
rapidly took on the millennialist charge of all pop futurisms'
(1999:190). Indeed representations of virtual reality within Western
and Westernized culture were particularly prolific during the 1980s and
1990s and were framed through references to wonderment and the promise
that complete sensory immersion would be made possible through
This paper however
takes a critical stance towards representations of embodiment and
immersion in virtual reality. In doing so the paper will indicate that
particularly during the 1980s and 1990s there were representations of
virtual reality which suggested that the body could be repressed or
somehow denied. In some cases the human body was even denigrated as
Ômeat', something that was outmoded, obsolete which could be
discarded for a post-human existence in virtual reality environments.
Countering these claims involves examining the ways in which embodiment
can be regarded as a fundamental aspect of human experience.
Additionally embodiment will be considered in two mutually inflecting
ways. Firstly it will be contended that the body is a constructed
concept, an abstraction, which differs from our living, breathing sense
of Ôbeing-in-the-world'. Secondly, this paper proposes that
embodiment is a changing state of being rather than a fixed, material,
object thus avoiding the tendency to reify the body.
Davis, E. (1999) Techngnosis – Myth, Magic and Mysticism in the Age of Information. London: Serpent's Tail.
Coleman, Stephen, David E. Morrison, & Simeon J. Yates
When Prophecy Fails and the Failure of Understanding
paper will address contemporary concerns about public disengagement
from the democratic political process and examine assumptions that the
feedback paths inherent to interactive communications technologies can
create a meaningful link between local experience and political
authority thereby diminishing public feelings of inefficacy.
will be presented from our Futura.Com project based on an initial
representative UK panel of 6,555 households enquiring into media and
technology usage and political attitudes. The panel has now been
running for ten years and represents the largest study of its kind ever
attempted in Britain providing unique insight into changes in political
associations and communicative response.
paper will also offer, as part of explaining the most recent
development of approach and methods for progressing the study, a
strident critique of the history of political communications research.
It will show how the manner in which first radio research and then
television research, by operating with formal definitions of political
activity, imposed an understanding of what it is to act political that
has little correspondence with how individuals themselves define
political activity and by extension come to judge themselves as
side this historical comparison of approaches to understanding
political communications, the paper, drawing on recent focus group
research, and a nationally representative questionnaire survey –
separate from the Futura.com Panel – will show how various
communications channels are judged as offering avenues of political
influence and effect. The internet is seen as less effective than the
letter, and the newspaper the most effective. Indeed, the internet,
other than in the realm of symbolic political action, is not seen as
providing much, if any, increase in political connectivity, in fact,
has lessoned such connectivity through the very failure to achieve that
which it promised.
The Discursive Practices of Media Convergence: When Old Media Meet New Media
of the human species has long been dependent upon its ability to adapt
to different situations and different technologies. Technologies have
their own patterns of evolution that rely heavily on incorporating the
beneficial aspects of old technologies into new ones. The internet is a
prime example of a technology that has relied heavily on the
convergence of other technologies and media. But this is not a new
idea: new technologies have long been pillaging the characteristics of
previous technologies in order to keep themselves socially viable. When
radio was introduced in the 1920s, its diffusion would not have been
possible had it not been for the groundwork laid by the invention of
the telegraph (Marvin, 1990). It wasn't until television became a
distinct possibility, however, that we begin to see the ingenious ways
that new and old technologies learned to adapt in order to survive.
Television borrowed the format of radio shows, despite the fact that
the two media were not sensory-compatible. The shift from a purely
auditory medium to visual (plus auditory) medium did not seem to have a
significant effect on the format of shows. It was not until the
technology became more sophisticated that television as a technology
developed into a medium that was no longer strongly influenced by its
technological predecessor. Radio was then forced to react to the
cementing of television into society by changing not only its format,
but also its structural and pedagogical framework. The influence of
films on television was more understandable given the similar nature of
the two technologies. But what happens when a new technology embodies
almost every aspect of previous media technologies? How do old
technologies react to a new technology that mimics the unique
characteristics they claim to offer? Much like "big box" stores that
boast that they address every shopping need, the internet is the big
box of media. It can supply the same content of other media and new
content as well, forcing old technologies to rethink their very
introduction of the internet into the technological landscape posed
some problems for traditional mass media. Although the internet needed
to learn how to adapt to older technologies, older technologies needed
to learn how to adapt to the internet. While old and new media are
negotiating one another, the structural frameworks located within media
often suffer with the concept of "drag and drop" content. Traditional
media and the internet have become strange bedfellows in this sense.
Radio, television, film and newspapers all have incorporated some
aspect of the internet. The newer technology has been enveloped into
the older ones. Historically, this is a unique occurrence. This
historical-chronological comparative analysis incorporates content
analysis of such media to argue that although convergence of old
technologies with new ones is not a unique occurrence, the unique
characteristics of the internet have revolutionized the way technology
convergence is viewed.
Marvin, C. (1990). When old technologies were new. New York: Oxford University Press.
Following the "Digital Divide": Historically situating the construct in realm of
communication theories and theories of development
its relatively short history the concept of the Ôdigital divide'
has fueled a substantial amount of research. The phrase "digital
divide" is found in almost 500 items within the social science citation
index, while Google Scholar returns over thirty thousand results to the
same query. A thorough reading of the research, however, reveals that
the meaning of the term has changed over the years as it has reacted to
theoretical shifts, public attention, and changes in information and
communication technologies themselves. The conceptualization of the
digital divide went from a simple definition in terms of physical
access to technology, to encompass inequalities along various social,
cultural, and political dimensions, to its recharacterization in terms
of "digital inclusion". As a result, it is not surprising that scholars
such as van Dijk call for more work on "conceptual elaboration and
paper situates the scholarly discourse about the digital divide in the
context of both communication theories and theories of development. It
illustrates how the scholarship on the digital divide followed a
similar pattern to that of discourse on international development.
Moreover, it highlights the similar evolutionary path of both concepts
as they both are informed by both modernization and dependency
theories. Finally, the paper suggests links between the contemporary
discourse about the conceptualization of the digital divide and broader
social and communication theories such as structuration theory
developed by Giddens. In opening up the discussion on the academic
framing of the "digital divide", this paper aims to enrich the relevant
theoretical discourse and deepen our historical perspective on the
digital divide as a pathway for future research on this important
Where Are You Now? Locating Ourselves and Others in Mediated Communication
last few years have witnessed the emergence of an accessible
location-based infrastructure built on the commercialization of the
global positioning system (GPS) and the development of location-based
applications such as Google Earth and Flickr. At the same time,
Ôsocio-locative' activities (i.e., practices that meld locative
metadata and social interaction) such as social mapping, geotagging,
and mobile microblogging have appeared on the scene, both to the
delight and concern of users and pundits alike (e.g., Ransom November
27, 2006; Holson October 23, 2007). When considered with a short term
lens, the co-occurrence of socio-locative practices and locative
technology appears to be an example of technological determinism (Smith
and Marx 1994; Williams and Edge 1996), namely that locative
technologies are responsible for creating socio-locative practices. A
more contextualized view, however, counters such reductionist claims by
presenting data that illustrate how location has been an elemental part
of mediated social interaction for some time.
paper contextualizes the socio-locative practices of today by comparing
them to practices spawned by the introduction of three previous
technologies: 1) the landline telephone, 2) the personal computer, and
3) the mobile communication device (e.g., mobile phone, BlackBerry). I
draw a tie with today's practices by showing that individuals engaged
in these earlier forms of mediated communication (e.g., talking at a
distance, instant messaging, SMS texting) also represented their own
locations and accounted for the locations of their interlocutors
(Fischer 1992; Holmes 1995; Green 2002). Simultaneously, I address the
articulated motivations for including location information in each of
the three communication practices in order to uncover synergies with
contemporary locative discourse. Thus, while it may appear that
locative technology is generative of socio-locative practice,
historical evidence suggests that location has long played an important
role in mediated social communication.
Fischer, C. S. (1992). America Calling: A Social History of the Telephone to 1940. Berkeley, CA, University of California Press.
Green, N. (2002). "On the Move: Technology, Mobility, and the Mediation of Social Time and Space." Information Society 18(4): 281-92.
Holmes, M. E. (1995). "Naming Virtual Space in Computer-Mediated Conversation." ETC: A Review of General Semantics 52(2): 212-221.
Holson, L. M. (October 23, 2007). Privacy Lost: These Phones Can Find You. New York Times. New York.
D. (November 27, 2006). Location, Location, Location: 'Geotagging' lets
Web users put all that information in its place. Wall Street Journal.
New York: R9.
M. R. and L. Marx, Eds. (1994). Does Technology Drive History? The
Dilemma of Technological Determinism. Cambridge, MA, MIT Press.
Williams, R. and D. Edge (1996). "The Social Shaping of Technology." Research Policy 25(6): 865-899.
Harrison, Teresa M.
Wielding New Media: Exploring the History of Engagement with Media and Community
Concurrent with the introduction of each new major media technology of the 20th and 21st
centuries has been the development of corresponding community movements
aimed at using the new medium in the service of community
objectives. Such has been the case with both radio and
television, and is again evident in the history of the last twenty
years of innovation in information and communication technologies.
Common to, and perhaps most visible in the cases of community radio;
community, public, or public access television; and more recently
community computer networking is the idea that community engagement
with new media can be used to enhance the processes and practices of
movements have waxed and waned over time, but the idea of community use
of media technology seems to be reborn on a regular basis. Community
use implies that members of the community -- i.e., lay
people or hobbyists who adopt and use media technologies outside their
normal employment -- deploy these technologies to create their own
media products, serving their own particular interests, community
interests, and perhaps even larger scale political goals to counter the
growth of corporate control of media. Indeed, the advocational
use of new media to create content seems to be flourishing yet again in
the widespread embrace of new Web 2.0 social networking or social media
web sites, which offer their users an opportunity to construct
information or media products of their own for distribution among
members of their social networks.
this paper, I explore what it means to take on the avocation of
community media user, and in particular what idiosyncratic
gratifications, community or political objectives, personal talents,
and/or cultivated skills are bound up in the identities of those who
engage new media in the creation of content. I trace these
characteristics historically across the introduction of radio,
television, the Internet in its earliest forms, and more recent
innovations made possible by the Web 2.0 platform. I am
particularly interested in exploring whether the impulse to wield new
media can be said to have an historical trajectory and whether it is
heightened in novel ways by contemporary web applications.
Watching Ourselves Through the New Tele-visuality
As Raymond Williams famously pointed out, TV's emergence was not merely
the outcome of an evolution of communication technologies but was part
of a widespread regime of mobility and privacy–what he referred
to as "mobile privatization." From Williams' perspective, TV
developed and mattered not only through a particular conception and
design of house and home (the most private of spaces) but through a
home-life that assumed and required particular forms of
transport–and likewise, through forms of transport that required
a particular model of domesticity. Similar to James Carey's
account of telegraphy and rail transport, Williams' thesis also rightly
underscored that TV's emergence (or the emergence of any "medium") can
not be explained merely as the outcome of refinements or experiments in
technologies of communication, Following Williams and Carey, my
intervention for this seminar emphasizes that historians of
communication should avoid casting "communication" or "media" as
discrete, self-generating practices and technologies. The
"long history of new media" is just as much a history space, transport,
travel, mobility, houses, cars, trains, clothes, and refrigerators as
it is a history of communication "media"--the usual, disciplinary, and
arbitrary historical points of references for Communication Studies.
Today, TV (or at least the video monitor) is everywhere. "Television"
no longer refers just to the home-based TV-set, and TV's ubiquity
outside the domestic sphere has contributed to significant
transformations in the physical environment of daily life. Part
of TV's dispersion across various spheres of activity has involved its
portability and its attachment to technologies of transport. My
intervention for the pre-conference seminar takes stock of this current
stage of tele-visuality by considering how it is instrumental to a new
("neoliberal") governmental rationality–one that emphasizes the
government of the fully mobile self (or what Packer and I have
described as "auto-mobility") and that plays out across a new
socio-spatial arrangement (a new stage of mobile privatization) that
expects citizens and consumers to manage their lives and to conduct
themselves (to "watch themselves") through a new regime of
personalized, mobile tele-visual technologies.
Decoding Color Codes: The Origins and Ideologies of Color in Computer Art
we already know that each historical era can be associated with a
specific color palette, and each hue of that palette can be
quantitatively determined, the ways in which these color palettes
affect our sensibilities, psychic states, and desires often falls
beyond cognitive, scientific, and epistemological explanations. For
instance, why do the super-saturated hues of 1980s video color, the
garishness of early Photoshop compositions, or the subtle luminosity
and transparency of today's interfaces, speak to us just as much about
cultural desires, memories, and nostalgia, as they do the state of the
art in mathematics, physics, and technology? A history of digital color
in new media must be gleaned archaeologically, through a genealogy of
our current psychic and sensory perceptions as they have been molded by
both the new media of the past and present.
The introduction of the digital color palette in the early 1970s seemed
to, like no other palette, offer the artist and engineer infinite color
choices. This enthusiasm is expressed in the early computer art of
Lillian Schwartz for Bell laboratories; Edwin Land's color experiments
for Polaroid; and continues today in the explosive colors in the work
of the Paper Rad collective. And yet, in precisely the same gesture,
the digital color palette holds the most highly rigid and algorithmic
proscriptions for the possibilities of digital color production. This
paper demonstrates that the ambivalence of the digital color palette
holds an allegorical relationship to cultural dreams, utopias, and
desires, on the one hand, and the ideological imperatives implicit in a
history of warfare, trauma, and violence, on the other. Thus, this
archaeology of digital color brings into focus a perspective on new
media history entirely unexplored. The paper concludes that
decoding digital color, because digital color essentially integrates
the machinic-technical and
the aesthetic-psychic, is a necessary precondition for rendering any
history new media art forms as always already embedded within social,
political, and historical matrices.
Historicizing Utopian Popular Discourse on the Internet: Positions, Comparison, and Contextualization
paper reviews the historiography of technology to better historicize
and contextualize popular American utopian discourse on the internet
during the 1990s. This was the decade when the internet truly became a
popular medium, after some twenty years of being used by academics, the
military and computer nerds. I explore two views on the relationships
between earlier discursive traditions about technology and the
discourse on the internet. The "historical continuity" approach sees
the utopian discourse on the internet as a straightforward continuation
of earlier discursive traditions such as myth telling, the religion of
technology, technological utopianism, and the relatively more recent
150-year old discourse on electronic communication technologies. By
contrast, the contextualist position argues for a thematic similarity
between these discursive traditions and the discourse on the internet
but sets each discourse in its own context.
then weigh the visions accompanying the rise of the internet during the
1990s against earlier technological utopian discourses from the
turn-of-the-century (1880s-1930s). In addition, I compare this
discourse to the utopian discourses accompanying the introduction of
earlier communication technologies into American society including the
radio, the telephone and television.
I show that both
approaches are relevant for understanding the discourse on the internet
in that each has substantial analytical value and makes a considerable
contribution to both historicizing the discourse on the internet and
contextualizing it. In this sense, the discourse on the internet is
both a continuation of earlier discursive traditions and a unique and contemporary phenomenon, the features of which I will briefly discuss towards the end of my paper.
DAB Eureka-147: A European Technological Imaginary for Digital Radio
is currently struggling to maintain its identity and integrity as a
medium in an era of converging trends towards provision of media
services for mobile networking and personalised devices. A number of
different technical approaches to digital radio exist which seek to
ensure radio's long term future within this emerging digital landscape.
The longest established of these is Eureka-147 or DAB (Digital Audio
Broadcasting) as it is widely known.
DAB as a technology are a number of characteristics which highlight a
distinctly ÔEuropean' vision for new media and the future of
broadcasting. This paper will explore the tensions between the
Ôtechnological imaginary' (Lister et al.
2003) of DAB and the evolving model of convergence for the media and
communications environment. The paper will explore DAB's origins in
European R&D policy of the 1980s and its affinity with established
European broadcasting practice. The context in which DAB emerged was
explicitly one designed to enhance European competitiveness in advanced
technologies and to provide a foil to the dominance of the US and the
Far East in ICT and consumer electronics. DAB's original mission was to
facilitate a combined satellite and terrestrial transmission system
which would provide a robust, global, all-digital standard for fixed,
portable and mobile radio reception. Underpinning its technological
architecture was a vision of expanding frontiers in which nationally
Europe's leading PSB organisations would utilize linear broadcasting
technologies to provide enhanced, and in due course
interactive,information and entertainment services through audio, text
and visual content. Social shaping of technology and diffusion of
innovations research have to date tended to place emphasis on
contextual factors impacting on innovation (Lievrouw and Livingstone,
2005). In this case, I argue, close attention to the inherent
assumptions underpinning technologists' strategies, particularly in the
context of subsequent modification of technology standards, can provide
crucial insights into emerging scenarios for new media.
Lister, Martin et al (eds.) (2003) New Media: A Critical Introduction. London: Routledge.
Lievrouw, L. and S. Livingstone (eds.) (2005) The Handbook of New Media. London: Sage.
The Virtual Geographies of Social Networks: A comparative analysis of Facebook, LinkedIn and ASmallWorld
one of the earlier examinations of the potential of cyberspace, Gunkel
and Gunkel (1997) argued that new worlds are invented with principles
transcribed from old worlds, and concluded that "naming is always an
exercise in power. . . The future of cyberspace, therefore, will be
determined not only through the invention of new hardware, but also
through the names we employ to describe it' (p. 133). The architecture
of virtual spaces, much like the architecture of physical spaces,
simultaneously suggests and enables particular modes of interaction.
The architecture of online spaces has been connected to a breed of
behavior tagged cyborg (e.g. Haraway, 1991; Stone, 1996), viewed as
liberating expression via anonymity (e.g., Bolter, 1996), or has
simulated real life in virtual environments (e.g., Turkle, 1995;1997).
The positions of these earlier works were adapted to study how
structural features of online spaces influence self presentation and
expression (e.g., Dominick, 1999; Papacharissi, 2002; 2007; Walker,
2000). This study examines three social networks to understand how
architectural features influence iterations of community and identity
in Facebook, LinkedIn and ASmallWorld. The analysis is situated in
historical context to understand how media create symbolic environments
that may reproduce or challenge existing cultural patterns and
and community have long presented focal concepts of interest for new
media researchers. Enabling both identity expression and community
building, SNS are frequently structured around a niche audience,
although their appeal frequently evolves beyond that target market.
Facebook at present consists of 47,000 college, high school, employee,
and regional networks, handles 600 million searches and more than 30
billion page views a month (www.alexa.com,
accessed 10/31/07).The online social network application allows users
to create their profiles, display a picture, accumulate and connect to
friends met online and offline, and view each other's profiles, and is
ranked as the 7th most popular site. Like Facebook, LinkedIn allows
users to create a profile based on their professional affiliation, and
accumulate and connect to professional contacts within and outside
their professional networks. LinkedIn is ranked well below Facebook, as
153rd in the rank of sites attracting the most traffic, averaging about
500 million pages views per month (www.alexa.com,
accessed 10/31/07). Recently dubbed "A Facebook for the Few," by the /
The New York Times, /ASmallWorld (ASW) is a private social network
which allows users to post pictures, create profiles and connect to
others. Individuals can only join ASmallWorld if they are invited by
members, and are only allowed to invite others to join after a year of
membership. Individuals who do not have any friends who are members yet
and want to join are simply advised to be "patient."
caters to a smaller and exclusive audience, and thus is ranked 5,343 in
recent traffic and closer to size to LinkedIn, averaging about 1% of
global Internet traffic (www.alexa.com, accessed 10/31/07).
networking web sites operate on enabling self-presentation and
connection building, but become successful when using structural
features to create symbolic codes that facilitate communication and
create what Castells (2000) termed a culture of "real virtuality." This
comparative analysis examines symbolic representations of everyday
communicative routines that these social networks create for their
users, so as to understand the meaning and historical progression of
Bolter, J. D. (1996). Virtual reality and redefinition of self. In L. Strate, R. Jacobson, & S. B. Gibson (Eds.), Communication and cyberspace: Social interaction in an electronic environment (pp.
105-120). Cresskill, NJ: Hampton Press.
Castells, M. (2000). The Rise of the Network Society. Oxford: Blackwell.
Dominick, J. (1999). Who do you think you are? Personal home pages and self-presentation on the world wide web. Journalism and Mass Communication Quarterly, 76, 4, 646-658.
Gunkel, D. J., & Gunkel, A. H. (1997). Virtual geographies: The new worlds of cyberspace. Critical Studies in Mass Communication, 14, 123-137.
D. (1991). The actors are cyborg, nature is coyote, and the geography
is elsewhere: Postscript to "Cyborgs at large." In C. Penley & A.
Ross (Eds.), Technoculture (pp. 21-26). Minneapolis: University of Minnesota.
Papacharissi, Z. (2002). The presentation of self in virtual life: Characteristics of personal home pages. Journalism and Mass Communication Quarterly, 79, 3, 643-660.
Papacharissi, Z. (2007). The Blogger Revolution? Audiences as Media Producers. Blogging, Citizenship, and the Future of Media, M. Tremayne (Ed)., Routledge.
Turkle, S. (1995). Life on the screen: Identity in the age of the internet. New York: Simon & Schuster.
Turkle, S. (1997). Constructions and reconstructions of self in virtual reality: Playing in the MUDs. In S. Kiesler (Ed.), Culture of the Internet (pp. 143-155). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.
Stone, A. R. (1996). The war of desire and technology at the close of the mechanical age. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
Walker, K. (2000). "It's difficult to hide it": the presentation of self on internet home pages. Qualitative Sociology, 23, 1, 99-120.
Rosenthal, Michele & Rivka Ribak
Writing a History of Ambivalent Use: The Case of Alternative Communities and Old/New Media
there is a plethora of studies that examine the speed of diffusion of
new technologies (Rogers, 2003), far less research has explored user
resistance or ambivalence toward new technologies. Partly this
lacuna in the research can be attributed to, what Everett M. Rogers
called, "the pro-innovation bias," of diffusion research which suggests
"that an innovation should be diffused and adopted by all members of a
social system, that it should be diffused more rapidly, and that the
innovation should be neither re-invented nor rejected" (2003, p.
16). This bias, claims Rogers, has produced a field of knowledge
that focuses upon quick diffusion and adoption, rather than on slow
diffusion, rejection or discontinuance (2003, p. 111). The focus
on the social construction of technology (SCOT) brings these processes
and the role users and non-users (Ooudshoorn and Pinch, 2003) play in
the construction and development of new technologies to the
fore. Historians Kline (2000) and Marvin (1998) have
documented similar processes in late 19th and early 20th century American contexts. Likewise, research by Umble (1992, 1996) about the Amish and the telephone in the early 20th
century illustrates how negotiations by users take place over time, and
not just at the initial stage of diffusion and/or adoption (see also
Boczkowski, 1999). A diachronic perspective here is
crucial: discursive and practical forms of user resistance
continue to change after the initial encounter with the technology, and
in the wake of new technologies that follow.
paper explores the technological ambivalence found amongst
"alternative" communities in Israel: advocating reasonable use of
new media such as the internet and mobile phone for the purpose of
creating and promoting an alternative agenda, while remaining highly
critical of so-called older media such as the television.
Returning to the early arguments against television in 1950s Israel
(Katz, 1996; Oren, 2004), we compare contemporary discourses of
resistance and non-use in the current context of media ubiquity
(Weiser, 1993) and interchangeability (Adoni and Nossek, 2001).
H., and Nossek, H. (2001). The new media consumers: Media convergence
and the displacement effects, European Journal of Communication
Research, 26(1), 59-83.
Pablo J. (1999). Mutual shaping of users and technologies
in a national virtual community. Journal of
Communication. 49:2, 86-108.
E. (1996). And deliver us from segmentation. Annals of the
American Academy of Political and Social Science 546, 22-33.
Ronald R. (2000). Consumers in the country: Technology and
social change in rural America. Baltimore, MD: John Hopkins
Carolyn. (1988). When old technologies were new: Thinking
about electric communication in the late nineteenth
century. New York: Oxford University press.
Tasha G. (2004). Demon in the box: Jews, Arabs, politics
and culture in the making of Israeli television. New Brunswick,
NJ: Rutgers University press.
Nelly and Trevor Pinch, eds. (2003). How users and
non-users matter. In eds. Oudshoorn and Pinch, How users
matter: The co-construction of users and technology.
Cambridge, MA: MIT press, 2-25.
Rogers, Everett M. (2003). Diffusion of innovations. Fifth Ed. New York: Free press.
Diane Zimmerman. (1992). The Amish and the telephone: resistance
and reconstruction. In Roger Silverstone and Eric Hirsch, eds.,
Consuming technologies: Media and information in domestic
spaces. London: Routledge, 183-194.
Diane Zimmerman. (1996). Holding the Line: The Telephone in
Old Order Mennonite and Amish Life. Baltimore, MD: John
Hopkins university press.
Weiser, Mark. (1993). Ubiquitous computing. Computer. 26:10, 71-72.
Rothenbuhler, Eric W.
What Is New? What Is Not?
is not a property of objects but a claim for them or a response to them
that implies a comparative evaluation. So long as the comparisons
are implicit and the criteria of the evaluation unspoken, though, the
cultural celebration of new media and the scholarly focus on their
recognized newness are also systematic forgetting. We need to
continue to ask, as Silverman (1999, p. 10), Gitelman & Pingree
(2003, p. xi), and others have "what's new about new media?" We
need also to ask what is not new, what are we forgetting, to what does this focus on newness blind us?
mainline of celebrated progress portrays new media from the telegraph
forward as faster, cheaper, more powerful or convenient. "New
media" understood in this way are more efficient means of accomplishing
already recognized communicative tasks and activities. What those media
are not is more aesthetically elaborated or expressively attuned.
ÒNewness" is, then, progress on only the instrumental dimension
of life. The scholarship of new media should then also give attention
to what the culture of new media is systematically forgetting:
that communication is also craft and art.
are contrary examples and complications that need to be
addressed. The phonograph, classical music radio programming,
high fidelity audio equipment, and LPs all have been promoted as
culturally ennobling. Streamlined radios from the 1930s and the
striking looks of iMacs and iPhones today show that an aesthetics of
newness is also relevant. The ringtone and facebook show that new
media can lead to the discovery of new communicative needs. The
complications, though, will not invalidate the overall trends.
here is the point: If communication is not only instrumental, but
also craft and art; if beautiful worlds are preferred to ugly ones; and
if the resources of communication are limited; then the systematic
choice of the instrumental over the beautiful, is the construction of a
less preferred world. Unless we pause to consider it, we will
find ourselves within it. As Innis said, every culture has its own
methods of suicide.
The Parallel Development of Film and Video Games: History and Implications
paper examines the parallel evolutions of film and video game
technologies. Several key dimensions of similarity in the histories of
the two mediums have been identified, including commonalities in (1)
incorporation of narrative, (2) aesthetics, (3) authors, (4)
entrepreneurial visionaries, (5) genre emergence, (6) the relationship
between technological innovation and stylistic transformation, and (7)
adoption of ritualized use. These are elaborated upon in the paper.
ultimate goals of this work are twofold. First, it will reveal how
similar lessons may be learned from the histories of film and video
games, affecting the future development of traditional and interactive
entertainment technologies. Drawing on Rogers' (2003) six stages of
innovation generation, the paper will consider how comparable
advancements in form and content helped both technologies meet human
needs (e.g., for entertainment, arousal, ritual experiences, etc.),
resulting in commercialization and widespread adoption. Second, the
paper will plant seeds for the creation of new methodologies for the
study of film and video games rooted in the common language of the
moving image, drawing on Manovich's (2001) seminal work on the language
of new media. It will explain how popular films and video games are
new, visual ways of experiencing myths and archetypes, with common
themes (chiefly fantasy) but different articulations of narrative
(e.g., linear vs. branching, exploration). Overall, this paper will
show how film and video game scholarship can be mutually beneficial and
point to the future of moving image entertainment.
Manovich, L. (2001). The language of new media. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
Rogers, E. (2003). Diffusion of innovations (5th Edition). New York, NY: Free Press.
Suggs, L. Suzanne, Chris McIntyre, & Joan Cowdery
Health Communication and New Media: Just Another TV Rerun?
paper addresses the convergence of health communication and new media
framed by the historical context of televised health promotion
campaigns. In the post World War II era, health has emerged as one of
the most important political, economic, and social issues. A number of
contemporary health behaviors, such as poor diet and declining physical
activity, threaten to undo much of the progress achieved during the
past 60 years resulting in decreased quality of life and destabilized
health care systems. Accordingly, governments, health professionals,
and advertisers have embraced a variety of strategies designed to
promote positive health behavior practices. A cornerstone of these
efforts has been the utilization of emerging communication technologies.
The widespread diffusion of television presented health communicators
and organizations like the Ad Council with an opportunity to develop
and distribute health promotion campaigns that harnessed the powerful
combination of sound and image while reaching extraordinary numbers of
people. The development of the Web and new media spawned a chorus of
optimism about health communication interventions that echo previous
predictions about the role of television as a health communication tool.
In this paper we describe how health communication can leverage new
media such as blogs, social networking sites, video portals, instant
messaging, and other applications. In particular, the implications for
public health, the patient-provider framework and whether new media
fosters greater collaborative health decision-making are discussed. The
analysis is framed by earlier predictions about the impact of televised
health promotion campaigns beginning in the 1940s. This approach
provides insights into the parallels between television and new media
as platforms for health communication.
Suhr, Hiesun Cecilia
The Role of Participatory Media in Consecrating the Arts: Underpinning the Paradoxes in the Artistic Field of Myspace.com
the rise of participatory culture, social networking sites, such as
Myspace.com, provide a new outlet for the works of independent artists,
whether poets, painters, sculptors, or musicians (Andrejevic,
2004). The operation of participatory media is not autonomous
because the opportunity of intersection with the mainstream media
exists, hence the term Òconvergence culture" (Jenkins,
2006). Nonetheless, the critical question for this paper pertains
to the role of participatory media in consecrating artworks: are
independent artists using participatory media simply to have their work
viewed, or are they seeking mainstream media exposure? Does the
mere act of gaining access to mainstream media result in the
consecration of an artwork? As Bourdieu (1993) contends,
Òthe work of art is an object which exists as such only by
virtue of the (collective) belief which knows and acknowledges it as a
work of art" (p. 35). To this extent, Myspace.com functions as a
platform wherein artists can gain legitimacy through extensive
networking channels. Unlike the intervention of agencies
(dealers, record executives, etc.) on myspace.com the viewers (network)
replace the role of the agencies. As a result, Levy's (1997)
assessment is justified: Òwith the disappearance of a
traditional publicÉ a new form of art will experiment with
different modalities of communication and creation" (p. 122).
Despite this assertion, I contend that examining the overlooked
tensions inherent in the field of artistic production is vital.
This paper examines the paradoxical dimensions of participatory media
in the consecration of artworks; while the participatory media may
grant Òcollective intelligence" (Levy, 1997), it is imperative
to consider the notion of the field of artistic production as a
Òsite of struggle," where artists' survival and success are
inextricably linked to individuality and the notion of Òbeing
different" (Bourdieu, 1994, p. 106).
The History of Video Games: Teleological Illusion and Other Methodological Issues.
In an article detailing the methodological problems encountered by
early cinema historians, Andre Gaudreault notes the partial nature of
his practice on two distinct levels. First, only part of the
early film strips is still accessible to historians nowadays; second,
it is impossible for any historian to look back upon such a distant
object in an unbiased manner. On the surface, things might appear
simpler for video games historians: they are contemporary to their
object for the most part, and a strong community constantly feeds
online documentation resources, seeking to preserve the memory of
games. Yet in spite of these resources, and to a certain extent
because of them, the challenges in bringing the young new medium to
history books are considerable.
Although there are some exceptions (the itinerant Videotopia exhibit),
the only equivalent of film conservation institutions in the realm of
video games are purely virtual ones. Digitized visual resources
(such as box covers and game media) of course provide invaluable
information, but acute technical details and description of game
mechanics are often contradictory from one database to the other.
As such, a proper examination requires first-hand experience, which
often can only be emulated due to the rarity and nonfunctional
condition of older hardware and/or software. While the emulation
community is generally working towards the closest recreation of the
original experiences, performance issues, display technology evolution
and lack of specific control devices ensure these retro experiences
remain distinct from the originals. The ongoing and rapid
technological evolution responsible for these accessibility problems
also favors a teleological view of video game history; chaotic and
often contradictory manifestations in visual design and game mechanics
are ironed out in favor of a general progression towards
verisimilitude. Drawing upon recent historical work in the field,
including the author's own accounts of CD-ROM games and visual design
in videogames (both from the upcoming volume The Video Game Explosion.
A History from PONG to PlayStation and Beyond edited by Mark J. P.
Wolf) and his involvement in Bernard Perron's current funded research
project (ÒHistory and theory of early interactive cinema") and
upcoming project on horror video games, this contribution will expose
the various methodological problems pertaining to the elaboration of
digital games history.
Renvois of the Past, Present, and Future: Hyperlinks, Discourse Networks, and the Structuring of Knowledge from the Encyclopedie to Web 2.0
During the Enlightenment, the encyclopedia emerged as a dominant technology for the
collection, organization, and retrieval of knowledge. The technological features of the
encyclopedia – its physical organization and system of navigation – impact both the user and the
knowledge it is meant to impart. A notable example was the use of renvois, a system of cross references– hyperlinks – featured prominently in Diderot's EncyclopŽdie. Rather than simply relying on a structured and sanctioned presentation of knowledge, Diderot's use of renvois often
shaped the presentation of knowledge in an ideologically subversive
way, weakening the discursive authority of the encyclopedia as a final
source of knowledge by always deferring absolute meaning or knowledge
to another article, often leading to unsettling juxtapositions,
contradictions, and unexpected meanings that forced the reader to think
anew. Readers relinquished their position as passive spectators of
representation before whom traditional
knowledge is merely presented to become an active and integral participant in the Encyclopedie's production of knowledge.
In a McLuhanesque sense, the structure of the Encyclopedie – with is subversive renvois –
was as important as the message it contained, an idea that Friedrich
Kittler has developed in his theory of discourse networks. This paper
will use Kittler's framework to help understand the impact of the
technological form of the encyclopedia and the use of renvois on
the ability to organize information and obtain knowledge. Following the
emergence of these versions of hyperlinks in the encyclopedias of early
modern Europe, we trace the role of renvois in
more recent knowledge tools, including the Memex, the World Wide Web,
and the emerging platforms that make up the so-called Web 2.0. We will
reveal how the structure of these new knowledge tools might impact
– both positively and negatively – the ways in which
information is shaped and knowledge is attained.