April 26, 2008

Literature Map (ymmv)

Lit map for a comps question

Here's the lit map I drew for my Internet Studies exams (16 months ago, now!). It's very specific to my list, so your mileage may vary.

April 3, 2007

Cyberliteracy: Navigating the Internet with Awareness

Gurak,, L.J. (2001). Cyberliteracy: Navigating the Internet with awareness. New Haven: Yale UP.

Gurak’s intention with this book is to create a plain-language guide to central issues that ordinary citizens should be aware of as they click around the Net. She covers techno-rage, censorship, gender and identity (large debt to Turkle and Herring here), crime, hoaxes, privacy, copyright, and commerce. (Much reference to Doheny-Farina’s ideas of the local in the commerce chapter, which is titled “Think Globally, Eat Locally?.) This is an excellent book to teach in an undergrad course on aspects of the Internet, and I’m using it this semester. Some of it works better than others — my students had many issues with her treatment of gender — but it’s all pertinent and it all stirs thought.

All of this is meant for a general audience. The take-away for scholars is the second chapter, which delineates the familiar-to-us “Action Terms” of Speed, Reach, Anonymity, and Interactivity. (These also pop up in her 2004 piece, “Internet Studies in the 21st Century. Be sure to cite both.)

August 3, 2006

Internet Studies in the Twenty-First Century

Gurak, L. J. (2004) Internet studies in the twenty-first century. In D. Gauntlett (Ed.), Web.Studies (2nd ed.) (pp. 24-33). London: Arnold.

Gurak starts off with an overview of early CMC research that mimics the 8550 syllabus:

  • Hiltz & Turoff (1978): impersonality/freedom to be oneself; social/psychological differences noted in online vs f2f communication; lack of social cues; pen names/anonymity; impacts on workplace hierarchies
  • Kiesler, Siegel, McGuire (1984): emphasis on social/language based features which became CMC
  • Rice & Love (1987): electronic emotion
  • Herring (1993): gender and “masculine communication styles”
  • Turkle (1995): identity
  • Rheingold (1993): anecdotal research on virtual communities
  • Doheny-Farina (1996): virtual and local communities
  • Stromer-Galley (2000) and Hass (2001): reinvigoration of democracy through coalition-building, discussion, etc. on political campaign sites
  • Burk (2000): intellectual property in digital environments
She goes on to emphasize the movement from general studies to specific case studies that focus on individual communities or technologies and the creation of “Internet Studies” as an interdisciplinary field. Also noted are the shifting relevance of former topics (community, flaming, linguistic textual features, etc.) and the emergence of legal issues.

Finally, she provides an overview of speed and reach (oralness, redundancy/repetitiveness, casualness, multiplicity, visual reach, community) (31); as well as interactivity and anonymity (gender/identity, ownership, flaming, talking back, privacy) (32). Gurak concludes with a call for revisioning Internet Studies as new technologies emerge and old ones collapse.