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Analyzing the complex interaction between the material and immaterial aspects of new digital technologies, this book draws upon a mix of theoretical approaches (including sociology, media theory, cultural studies and technological philosophy), to suggest that the ‘Matrix’ of science fiction and Hollywood is simply an extreme example of how contemporary technological society enframes and conditions its citizens. Arranged in two parts, the book covers: theorizing the Im/Material Matrix living in the Digital Matrix. Providing a novel perspective on on-going digital developments by using both the work of current thinkers and that of past theorists not normally associated with digital issues, it gives a fresh insight into the roots and causes of the social matrix behind the digital one of popular imagination. The authors highlight the way we should be concerned by the power of the digital to undermine physical reality, but also explore the potential the digital has for alternative, empowering social uses. The book’s central point is to impress upon the reader that the digital does indeed matter. It includes a pessimistic interpretation of technological change, and adds a substantial historical perspective to the often excessively topical focus of much existing cyberstudies literature making it an important volume for students and researchers in this field.
"Digital Matters provides a novel perspective upon on-going digital developments by using, in addition to current thinkers, the work of past theorists not normally associated with digital issues. This provides a fresh insight into the roots and causes of the social matrix that lies behind the digital Matrix of the popular imagination. In so doing, the authors highlight the way we should be concerned by the power of the digital to undermine physical reality but also to explore the potential the digital has for alternative, empowering social uses. The book's central aim is to impress upon the reader that, for reasons they may not have suspected, the digital does indeed matter."--BOOK JACKET.
Key Thinkers for the Information Society provides an introduction to some important social theorists whose work has considerable relevance to today's 'brave new world' of information and communication technologies. With the aim of widening current perspectives on the information society, each contributor introduces a particular theorist and discusses the way in which their insights can be reintroduced into debates regarding the social, political and cultural impact of ICTs. Theorists presented in Volume 1 include some well-known and some less well-known figures: Walter Benjamin; Murray Edeleman; Jacques Ellul; Harold Innes; Lewis Mumford; Karl Polanyi; Eric Elmer Scattachneider and Raymond Williams. Each has something fresh and pertinent to say and taken as a whole this volume provides an exciting new resource for contemporary studies.
"This is a welcome critical corrective to complacent mainstream accounts of the media's cultural impact". Prof. Slavoj Zizek, International Director of the Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities at Birkbeck, University of London "A powerful and highly engaging re-assessment of past critical thinkers (including those not normally thought of as critical) in the light of today's mediascape". Jorge Reina Schement, Distinguished Professor of Communications, Penn State University With the exception of occasional moral panics about the coarsening of public discourse, and the impact of advertising and television violence upon children, mass media tend to be viewed as a largely neutral or benign part of contemporary life. Even when criticisms are voiced, the media chooses how and when to discuss its own inadequacies. More radical external critiques are often excluded and media theorists are frequently more optimistic than realistic about the negative aspects of mass culture. This book reassesses this situation in the light of both early and contemporary critical scholarship and explores the intimate relationship between the mass media and the dis-empowering nature of commodity culture. The authors cast a fresh perspective on contemporary mass culture by comparing past and present critiques. They: Outline the key criticisms of mass culture from past critical thinkers Reassess past critical thought in the changed circumstances of today Evaluate the significance of new critical thinkers for today's mass culture The book begins by introducing the critical insights from major theorists from the past - Walter Benjamin, Siegfried Kracauer, Theodor Adorno, Marshall McLuhan and Guy Debord. Paul Taylor and Jan Harris then apply these insights to recent provocative writers such as Jean Baudrillard and Slavoj iek, and discuss the links between such otherwise apparently unrelated contemporary events as the Iraqi Abu Ghraib controversy and the rise of reality television. Critical Theories of Mass Media is a key text for students of cultural studies, communications and media studies, and sociology.
This text explores and analyses the work of a wide range of writers, setting their work in the context of science fiction, other literary genres, genre cinema and contemporary work on the culture of technology.
Ethics is customarily understood as being concerned with questions of responsibility for and in the face of an other who is like we assume ourselves to be. Such an anthropocentric presumption has been significantly challenged by computer technology, intelligent systems, virtual realities, and cybernetics, all of which introduce the possibility of others that are and remain otherwise. Thinking Otherwise investigates the unique challenges, complications, and possibilities introduced by these different forms of otherness. The author formulates alternative ways of proceeding that are able to respond to and to be responsible for these other different forms of otherness in order to generate and develop alternative ways of thinking that are and remain oriented otherwise.

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