The second edition includes new essays on the impact of social networking technologies and new media. A new section – “New Digital Media” – presents important, new articles on topics including hacktivism in the age of digital power and the relationship between gaming and capitalism. The extraordinary range and depth of the first edition has been maintained in this new edition. Critical Digital Studies will continue to provide the leading edge to readers wanting to understand the complex intersection of digital culture and human knowledge.
Arthur Kroker is the director of the Pacific Centre for Technology and Culture, and Canada Research Chair in Technology, Culture, and Theory at the University of Victoria.
Marilouise Kroker is a senior research scholar in the Pacific Centre for Technology and Culture at the University of Victoria.
Twitter, Facebook, e-publishing, blogs, distance-learning and other social media raise some of the most divisive cultural questions of our time. Some see the technological breakthroughs we live with as hopeful and democratic new steps in education, information gathering, and human progress. But others are deeply concerned by the eroding of civility online, declining reading habits, withering attention spans, and the treacherous effects of 24/7 peer pressure on our young.
With The Dumbest Generation, Mark Bauerlein emerged as the foremost voice against the development of an overwhelming digital social culture. But The Digital Divide doesn't take sides. Framing the discussion so that leading voices from across the spectrum, supporters and detractors alike, have the opportunity to weigh in on the profound issues raised by the new media-from questions of reading skills and attention span, to cyber-bullying and the digital playground- Bauerlein's new book takes the debate to a higher ground.
The book includes essays by Steven Johnson, Nicholas Carr, Don Tapscott, Douglas Rushkoff, Maggie Jackson, Clay Shirky, Todd Gitlin, and many more. Though these pieces have been previously published, the organization of The Digital Divide gives them freshness and new relevancy, making them part of a single document readers can use to truly get a handle on online privacy, the perils of a plugged-in childhood, and other technology-related hot topics.
Rather than dividing the book into "pro" and "con" sections, the essays are arranged by subject-"The Brain, the Senses," "Learning in and out of the Classroom," "Social and Personal Life," "The Millennials," "The Fate of Culture," and "The Human (and Political) Impact." Bauerlein incorporates a short headnote and a capsule bio about each contributor, as well as relevant contextual information about the source of the selection.
Bauerlein also provides a new introduction that traces the development of the debate, from the initial Digital Age zeal, to a wave of skepticism, and to a third stage of reflection that wavers between criticism and endorsement.
Enthusiasms for the Digital Age has cooled with the passage of time and the piling up of real-life examples that prove the risks of an online-focused culture. However, there is still much debate, comprising thousands of commentaries and hundreds of books, about how these technologies are rewriting our futures. Now, with this timely and definitive volume, readers can finally cut through the clamor, read the the very best writings from each side of The Digital Divide, and make more informed decisions about the presence and place of technology in their lives.
Among the theories and ideas the book introduces are: mann culture, the Frankfurt School and the culture industry, semiology and structuralism, Marxism, feminism, postmodernism and cultural populism.
This new edition provides fresh material on Marxism and feminism, while a new final chapter assesses the significance of the theories explained in the book.
Moving between cultural history, our digital present, and the biotic future, Kroker theorizes on the relationship between human bodies and posthuman technology, and more specifically, wonders if the body of work offered by thinkers like Heidegger, Marx, and Nietzsche is a part of our past or a harbinger of our technological future. Heidegger, Marx, and Nietzsche intensify our understanding of the contemporary cultural climate. Heidegger's vision posits an increasingly technical society before which we have become 'objectless objects'– driftworks in a 'culture of boredom.' In Marx, the disciplining of capital itself by the will to technology is a code of globalization, first announced as streamed capitalism. Nietzsche mediates between them, envisioning in the gathering shadows of technological society the emergent signs of a culture of nihilism. Like Marx, he insists on thinking of the question of technology in terms of its material signs.
In The Will to Technology and the Culture of Nihilism, Kroker consistently enacts an invigorating and innovative vision, bringing together critical theory, art, and politics to reveal the philosophic apparatus of technoculture.