Virtual Society?: Technology, Cyberbole, Reality

Paperback | September 1, 2002

EditorSteve Woolgar

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Almost all aspects of social, cultural, economic and political life stand to be affected by the new electronic technologies. Virtual Society? is one vision of the consequential impact of these technologies. But to what extent and in what ways are the Internet and other electronic technologiesreally changing our lives? To what extent are we moving to a 'virtual society'? This collection provides a comprehensive set of detailed empirical studies of the genesis and use of these new technologies, ranging widely across application areas: from cyber-cafes to new media; email and organizational memory: to surveillance-capable technologies in the workplace; virtualreality to CCTV in high-rise housing; stock exchange addicts to student study networks. It offers a unique perspective - analytic scepticism - for making sense of some surprisingly counterintuitive results, and for developing a refreshingly critical view of many taken-for-granted assumptions aboutthe impact of the Internet on social relations and institutions. Each chapter presents a high quality exemplar of its own disciplinary perspective, addressed to a general social science audience. The diversity of disciplinary perspectives is brought to bear in a central message laid out in the opening discussion of the 'Five Rules of Virtuality', that with duereflexive caution and ironic sensitivity, general messages can be drawn from the observations of particular substantive contexts. In particular, claims that we are moving to a 'virtual society' need to be tempered by a reassessment of connections between what counts as 'real' and 'virtual'. This book will appeal to students and researchers in a very wide range of disciplines, both within and beyond the social sciences and management, and to all practitioners struggling with the realities of the new virtual technologies

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Almost all aspects of social, cultural, economic and political life stand to be affected by the new electronic technologies. Virtual Society? is one vision of the consequential impact of these technologies. But to what extent and in what ways are the Internet and other electronic technologiesreally changing our lives? To what extent ar...

Steve Woolgar was Professor of Sociology, Head of the Department of Human Sciences, and Director of CRICT (Centre for Research into Innovation, Culture and Technology) until 2000. He has held visiting appointments at McGill University, MIT, Ecole Nationale Superieure des Mines, Paris, and University of California, San Diego. He is the...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:368 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 0.78 inPublished:September 1, 2002Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199248761

ISBN - 13:9780199248766

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Table of Contents

1. Steve Woolgar: Introduction: Five Rules of Virtuality2. Sally Wyatt, Graham Thomas, and Tiziana Terranova: They Came, They Surfed, They Went Back to the Beach: Conceptualizing Use and Non-use of the Internet3. G. M. Peter Swann and Tim P. Watts: Visualization Needs Vision: The Pre-paradigmatic Character of Virtual Reality4. Susan E. Watt, Martin Lea, and Russell Spears: How Social is Internet Communication? A Reappraisal of Bandwidth and Anonymity Effects5. Sonia Liff, Fred Steward, and Peter Watts: New Public Places for Internet Access: Networks for Practice-Based Learning and Social Inclusion6. David Knights, Faith Noble, Theo Vurdubakis, and Hugh Willmott: Allegories of Creative Destruction: Technology and Organization in Narratives of the e-Economy7. Brian McGrail: Confronting Electronic Surveillance: Desiring and Resisting New Technologies8. David Mason, Graham Button, Gloria Lankshear, and Sally Coates: Getting Real about Surveillance and Privacy at Work9. Charles Crook and Paul Light: Virtual Society and the Cultural Practice of Study10. Sarah Nettleton, Nicholas Pleace, Roger Burrows, Steven Muncer, and Brian Loader: The Reality of Virtual Social Support11. Andreas Wittel, Celia Lury, and Scott Lash: Real and Virtual Connectivity: New Media in London12. Steven D. Brown and Geoffrey Lightfoot: Presence, Absence, and Accountability: Email and the Mediation of Organizational Memory13. Melvin Pollner: Inside the Bubble: Communion, Cognition, and Deep Play at the Intersection of Wall Street and Cyberspace14. John Hughes, Mark Rouncefield, and Pete Tolmie: The Day-to-Day Work of Standardization: A Sceptical Note on the Reliance on IT in a Retail Bank15. Jon Agar, Sarah Green, and Penny Harvey: Cotton to Computers: From Industrial to Information Revolutions16. Geoff Cooper, Nicola Green, Richard Harper, and Gerald Murtagh: Mobile Society? Technology, Distance, and Presence17. Marilyn Strathern: Abstraction and Decontextualization: An Anthropological Comment