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Living on Cybermind: Categories, Communication, and Control (New Literacies and Digital Epistemologies)
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Top Customer Reviews
So that people know what the book is about, I will briefly describe it (a fuller description, including pointers to other reviews, and a list of my other writings, which might help you decide if you want to read it) can be found at uts.academia.edu/jonmarshall
The book is an anthropologically based, participant observation ethnography of an internet mailing list, based on 10+ years of encounter. It gives detailed accounts of various events on the List in order to interpret them theoretically. Hopefully the theories should have wider application than just for this group.
Some of the theories invoked investigate:
a) The effects of the structures of communication, and how different kinds of internet forum enable and restrict different kinds of activities and power.
b) The role of external offline categories in influencing the kinds of ways that people make sense of what other people are doing. Hence the idea of an internet free of offline ideas of gender, race, politics and nation cannot be sustained.
c) The existential problems arising from the vagueness of presence online. Online presence, especially in a list, is suspended between presence and absence, and your being is only confirmed by the response of others. This kind of oscillating presence I have called 'asence'. I try to use asence to explore ideas about the online body and netsex amongst other things.
d) The ways that people resolve communication and how this can lead to conflict. Communication is not an unalloyed good, and more of it will not necessarily lead to peace or understanding.Read more ›
The author gives a painfully detailed description of Cybermind-an online community. The book details the political rants, sexist rants, and community building antics of Cybermind. The reader gets a behind the scenes examination into this online community and the resultant relationships that are established between the members. Excerpts of conversations (petty, boring, and sometimes interesting) are quoted.
This book's audience is a lay audience of people who are interested in online communities, friendships, communication, and the like. I didn't find any sections useful for my undergrads, but maybe a communications professor would?