Interpersonal Divide: The Search for Community in a Technological Age

Paperback | November 25, 2004

byMichael Bugeja

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Electronic communication now keeps us connected, wired, and cabled to the entire world. Why, then, do we often feel displaced and increasingly isolated in the global village? Interpersonal Divide: The Search for Community in a Technological Age seeks to answer the question: have media andtechnology created a social gap, eroding our sense of community? Author Michael Bugeja tackles this question by taking a broad and interdisciplinary approach, incorporating a number of different viewpoints, including global, ethical, philosophical, corporate, pop cultural, and sociologicalperspectives. Bugeja analyzes the "interpersonal divide"--the void that develops between people when we spend too much time in virtual rather than in real communities--and makes a case for face-to-face communication in a technological world. He traces media history to show how other generations havecoped with similar problems during periods of great technological change, recommending ways to "repatriate to the village." Interpersonal Divide, a ground-breaking book, documents how long-standing media theories--including ones by Marshall McLuhan--may no longer hold in the wake of new media and intrusive technology. Bugeja investigates the impact and motives of media ecosystems that have polluted the Internet andother digital devices with marketing ploys, delivering to consumers a global mall rather than a global village. Interpersonal Divide informs readers how to use media and technology wisely so that they enhance rather than replace community.

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From the Publisher

Electronic communication now keeps us connected, wired, and cabled to the entire world. Why, then, do we often feel displaced and increasingly isolated in the global village? Interpersonal Divide: The Search for Community in a Technological Age seeks to answer the question: have media andtechnology created a social gap, eroding our sen...

Michael Bugeja is at Iowa State University of Science and Technology.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:240 pages, 5.39 × 8.11 × 0.98 inPublished:November 25, 2004Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195173392

ISBN - 13:9780195173390

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Table of Contents

Introduction: The Need to Belong1. Displacement in the Global VillageHigh-Tech and Original HabitatsThe Interpersonal DivideBig Box DisplacementLoss of PerspectiveA Lifelong Quest2. The Human ConditionPeace and EmpowermentSurvival in Virtual EnvironmentsThe Marketing of Self-HelpThe Ethics of Our ConditionConvenience Over Conscience3. Habits of a High-Tech AgeThe Hype of Self-HelpSeven Habits of Highly Mediated PeopleThe Accelerated Biological ClockWondering What Is Real4. Impact of Media and TechnologyThe Real and Virtually RealThe Dawning of Mass MediaThe Advent of MarketingVision and Values5. Blurring of Identity and PlaceThe Disembodied SelfMapping the Consumer GenomeMoral and Social UpheavalEndangered Habitats6. The Medium is the MoralMcLuhan, RevisitedThe New Generation GapThe Unnatural Order of Things7. Icons and CaricaturesIcons and IdolsIcons and AdvertisingMentors and Caricatures8. Living Three DimensionallyVirtues and EnvironmentsThe Moral Importance of PlaceDimensions of Community9. Repatriation to the VillageEthical InventoriesFoci of Our DiscontentMis-Mediated MessagesA Place in the VillageNotesIndex

Editorial Reviews

"Perhaps no previous scholar has synthesized the ways media technologies are harming a sense of community, especially in such a compact book. ... Perhaps [Bugeja] ought to give himself credit for implanting optimism in at least some of his readers, because his book, if read carefully, is empowering." -- The Des Moines Register "Wise, troubling, tough-minded and profoundly on target, Interpersonal Divide is a thoughtfully human response to the burgeoning challenge to our sense and practice of community posed by the new communications technologies, their use as well as misuse." -- Hodding Carter III, President and CEO, John S. and James L. Knight Foundation "Michael Bugeja has delivered a creative, new approach to media and technology in this thoughtful and humanistic treatment. The emphasis here is on meaning and human communication, not a tired polemic on the inevitability of technological change. . . . Refreshing!" -- Everette Dennis, Distinguished Felix E. Larkin Professor, Fordham University "Michael Bugeja's Interpersonal Divide is a book of concerned prescription. An accomplished poet, an ethicist and a journalism professor, Bugeja aims to assess "changes resulting from the Technology Revolution of the 1990s." He's careful to note at the start of this admirably clear volume that he has not written a book of "social panic." But he has written one of social high anxiety. ... At the end of each chapter, he lists journal exercises and discussion ideas for those who feel inspired to examine their media habits. You could do a lot worse with your spare time (and probably will). Bugeja largely lives up to the second goal he set for himself -- to produce a multidisciplinarywork "to explain complex truths in plain language rather than to validate those truths via complex language" --The Washington Post