Blog#10: New Disciplines

Critical Cyberculture Studies, by David Silver, Adrienne Massanari, and Steve Jones, is quite a new book and talks about interesting topics in cyberculture. Silver pointed out that although Internet studied is quite a new branch, scholars pay attention and have helped to make this discipline become stronger. For example, now we have conferences, symposia, journal articles, textbooks, courses, experts and so on that focus on this discipline. This book seems suitable for multidisciplinary studies because it mixes many disciplines including anthropology, cultural studies, sociology, psychology, history, ethnography, information sciences, and so on. Nevertheless, critical cyberculture studies are still new and in their infancy. We need more time to see this field developing and emerging. Time is a great designer.

As Silver said, he believes there are two pillars that are fundamental to cyberculture studies: virtual communities and online identities. I think they are interesting and important concepts to understand. This book has three main areas to discuss: Historical contexts, social contexts, and cultural differences. Firstly, from historical contexts, the authors not only focus on new trends such as blog, but also on TV, radio, and so on. This reminds me of Williams' "The Technology and the Society" that we read in The New Media Reader which talks about TV and culture. I believe that to develop a new thing, we have to understand the history of the old thing too, so we understand the problems and can find a better way to improve it. Secondly, from social contexts, new media such as the Internet play a vital role in humans' lives. It comes in our lives and we may not notice that we may not live without it. Cell phone, email, and Internet are around us. It is important to study how crucial it is in social contexts. Lastly, from cultural differences, all humans may not have equal rights to play the Internet because they may be poor or their countries may not allow them to do that. However, when we are on the Internet, sometimes we can become whoever we want without revealing our real identity. This relates to several topics such as gender, race, age, and politics as in Nakamura's Cybertypes and Donna Haraway's "A Cyborg Manifesto."

In conclusion, this book has extensive details and topics that relate to cyberculture studies from many perspectives. It has opened new vision to me in this discipline.