What if, there was an entity, e.g. an algorithm, a start up etc., which filters the various YouTube tutorial videos, by sorting them out according to genre, complexity, language etc. and then re-distributes this content through common satellite TV channels, giving people without access (digital, social, economical, etc.) a better possibility to learn how to become more tech-savvy? A good idea to fight the digital divide?
Here it finally is, my Magisterarbeit.
What if science fiction was exactly that? Just it’s the other way around. What if real science is all about fiction; where it is most crucial which outlook one is about to take? Imagine there are as many possible futures as they are drops in the sea. You see, what is to become, is not written until it will be. The cursor is constantly blinking and waits for your decision. In this possible future there is a being. Not sure what to become, yet certain on its path of life. All writers tell the truth. Some of them are more vivid in doing so than others. When the clarity of imagination resonates with many who wish to believe, there’s a pretty good chance of this vision to become a reality.
What did Isaac envisioned in his trilogy of Daneel and Baley? People living in closed, clinical spaces, with purely processed food; engaging with each other by the means of computer mediated communication technologies. Hmmm. Nah. This ain’t the present! After all, we still seek shelter on the surface of the place some call mother. And what about the Hiros of our hedonistic history? Where are the hackers that hinder our reason from relapsing into dullness and control of the sterile ‘virality’ perpetuated by the United Franchised Nations? Aren’t we living in a world were people play with populations, using drugs and dogmas for an indoctrination that is covered quite clever in ever so entertaining medial stimulations? Its 28 years later in this brave new world! And we’re screwing each other big time, because we cynically chose to adore more dystopian depictions of science in fiction, than to idealistically imagine the philosophical potential that might utilize UrTOPIA.
I edited this podcast for the Digital Native video contest. With this contest the Centre for Internet & Society in Bangalore wants to promote their research project Digital Natives with a Cause. In it, you find interesting comments on the digital native concept, as well as on the contest proposals which made it into the next round. To spice it all up a little, I added some music by myself and others.
Hope you enjoy!
Produced by Nilofar Ansher & Philip Ketzel for CIS Bangalore (February 2012)
Nocow -> check: www.soundcloud.com/nocow
S13 -> check: www.secretthirteen.org
Wan.2 & Felix K -> check: www.hiddenhawaii.net
CC BY NC SA
Something worthy to check out.
My colleague Greg Myers has just launched this exciting new journal.
This is my exposé for the Magisterarbeit (master thesis) I’m currently working on.
The year 2011 will make its mark in history for a wave of civil movements realized in a manner never seen before. It was the year of the Arab Spring and the Occupy Movement; the year of the Facebook and Twitter revolutions (Taylor 2011; Beaumont 2011; Smith 2011; Duncombe 2011). What has been so new about these movements is not the fact that citizens have marched in the streets and occupied squares to protest dictator regimes and/or social injustice, but the manner in which these protests have been organized. The internet – as probably the most important product of the digital revolution – has enabled ordinary people around the globe to coordinate, mediate and promote their protest in a horizontal, leaderless manner, which bypasses the dependence on established centralized institutions, such as main-stream media outlets or political parties. Yet not everybody seems to be able to implement the technology made available through the digital revolution in such a fashion, it needs actors who master its usage.
A little more than ten years ago, Marc Prensky coined the term Digital Natives to describe the people who grew up with digital technology. He used the word native in a metaphorical sense referring to language to argue that this group of (mostly ‘younger’) people has mastered the usage of digital technology, as one has mastered ones native tongue. Coming from a pedagogical background, he wanted to raise awareness about the fact that by using digital technologies intensively on a daily basis students have developed a very different way of thinking and acting than their teachers, who he identifies as Digital Immigrants. Hence, he argued that the problems with unfocused, bored and uncooperative students lie less in the students will to behave as such, than rather in the fact that their teachers fail to speak the right/’digital’ language. (Prensky 2001; Prensky & Berry 2001)
The concept of the digital native has since been a much debated one in an interdisciplinary discourse dealing with the social, cultural, political as well as biological consequences of the digital revolution (e.g.: Helsper & Eynon 2010; Bennett, Maton, & Kervin 2008; Selwyn 2009; Wiersma 2010; Shah et al. 2011, 6–8). What lies at the bases, however, is the fact that the idea of the digital native “has been helpful in looking at the new practices of knowledge production, community building, sharing, participation and collaboration that have emerged with the rise and spread of digital and internet technologies” (Shah & Jansen 2011, 6). For the purpose of my study I will follow Nishant Shah’s suggestion to look at the “internet and communication technology (ICT) contexts” in which ‘young’ people “make strategic use of technologies to bring about change in their immediate environments” (Ibid.).
In my Magisterarbeit I want to interpret and analyze the cultural impact of the Occupy movement, in which digital natives have been playing a pivotal role. The motivation for such an undertaking derives from the interest in the overall influence of technology on society and culture, as well as the idealistic urge to make people aware of the potential of such a nonviolent and democratic movement. The theoretical framework of the thesis shall be the concepts of Empire and the multitude, elaborated by Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri. Its methodology can therefore be understood as an implementation of their theory with respect to the example of the Occupy movement.
With the concept of Empire, Hardt and Negri refer to the post modern world order established through the process of globalization. As the sovereignty of the nation states declines – due to the global economic and cultural exchanges driven by a neo-liberal agenda of institutions, such as transnational corporations, the World Bank or the International Monetary Fund – Empire becomes “the political subject that effectively regulates these global exchanges, the sovereign power that governs the world” (Hardt & Negri 2001, xi). This tendency towards an imperial world order is, however, just one side of the medal called globalization. On the other side, it “is also the creation of new circuits of cooperation and collaboration that stretches across nations and continents and allow an unlimited number of encounters” (Hardt & Negri 2005, xiii). It is this aspect of globalization to which their term of the multitude refers:
The multitude, in contrast, is an open, inclusive concept. It tries to capture the importance of the recent shifts of the global economy: on the one hand, the industrial working class no longer plays a hegemonic role in the global economy, although its numbers have not decreased worldwide; and on the other hand, production today has to be conceived not merely in economic terms but more generally as the social production – not only the production of material goods but also the production of communications, relationships, and forms of life. The multitude is thus composed potentially of all the diverse figures of social production. […] In so far the multitude is neither an identity (like the people) nor uniform (like the masses), the internal differences of the multitude must discover the common that allows them to communicate and act together. (Hardt & Negri 2005, xiv–xv)
With regard to the context of the Occupy movement, the common of the multitude is the call for a real democracy, in which resources and power are produced and distributed accord-ing to this principle (Hardt & Negri 2011). People feel misrepresented by their governments and therefore want to bring about change (Ibid.). In doing so, there are those among them who make strategic use of ICT, such as the internet, mobile phones and other digital technologies. They are the ones my work will be referring to when using the term digital natives. Even though there are also many people among the protesters who are not as embedded in ICT contexts, it is the work of the digital natives that has allowed these movements to gain such momentum in such a short period of time. Hence, when analyzing the Occupy movement, it seems helpful to understand the contexts produced by the digital natives as the manifestation of the multitude. The multitude becomes visible through the productions of the digital natives, who, by their everyday use of the common fabric of ICT, contest and expose the power structures of Empire.
Previous scholars have mostly focused on the change of political activism with respect to the progress of ICT. They have been using terms like ‘hacktivism’, ‘slacktivism’ or ‘clicktivism’ to describe the engagement in petitions and other political activities via ICT (e.g.: Sprigman 2003; Hasham 2001; Krapp 2005; Juris 2005; Shah, Weltervrede, et al. 2011, 34; Hands & Quinney 2010; Shah et al. 2010, 78). Linking the multitude concept with digital natives has not been done, as far as I can tell at this stage of my research. However, Negri and Hardt (2011) have been referring to the Arab Spring and Occupy movements recently, using the concept of the multitude.
The overall approach or structure of my thesis shall be at first a brief contemplation of Hardt and Negri’s theory with the emphasis on the concept of the multitude. Therefore I will most likely orient myself on Adam Haupt’s work in his book Stealing Empire, because of its incorporation of critical views on Hard and Negri’s theory. In the second chapter the concept of the digital native shall be discussed, in order to redraw the critical work which has been done in that discourse and to define how the concept will be used in my thesis with respect to the context of Empire. The main part will then be determined to prove the hypothesis. In order to do so, the Occupy movement will be contextualized to highlight its embeddedness in an ongoing critical global discourse. Core aspects that link the movement to Hardt & Negri’s theory, such as biopower, identity of the multitude, deterritorialisation and reterritorialisation, shall be worked out and discussed by using examples associated with the network of the movement.
Beaumont, Peter. 2011. “The truth about Twitter, Facebook and the uprisings in the Arab world.” the Guardian, February 25, sec. World news. http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/feb/25/twitter-facebook-uprisings-arab-libya.
Bennett, S., K. Maton, & L. Kervin. 2008. “The ‘digital natives’ debate: A critical review of the evidence.” British journal of educational technology 39 (5): 775–786.
Duncombe, C. 2011. The Twitter revolution? Social media, representation and crisis in Iran and Libya. Australian Policy Online: Australian Political Studies Association. http://apo.org.au/node/27208.
Hands, Joss, & James Quinney. 2010. Activism in a Digital Culture. New Left Project. December 21. http://www.newleftproject.org/index.php/site/print_article/activism_in_a_digital_culture.
Hardt, Michael, & Antonio Negri. 2001. Empire. London: Harvard University Press.
———. 2005. Multitude: War and Democracy in the Age of Empire. London: Penguin (Non-Classics).
———. 2011. The Fight for “Real Democracy” at the Heart of Occupy Wall Street: The Encampment in Lower Manhattan Speaks to a Failure of Representation. Foreign Affairs, October 11. http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/136399/michael-hardt-and-antonio-negri/the-fight-for-real-democracy-at-the-heart-of-occupy-wall-street.
Hasham, Mariyam. 2001. “Review - To Know Is Not Enough: Human Rights on the Internet by Halperin; Hicks; Hoskins.” The World Today 57 (2): 15.
Helsper, Ellen Johanna, & Rebecca Eynon. 2010. “Digital natives: where is the evidence?” British Educational Research Journal 36 (3) (June): 503-520. doi:10.1080/01411920902989227.
Juris, Jeffrey S. 2005. “The New Digital Media and Activist Networking within Anti-Corporate Globalization Movements.” Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 597: 189-208.
Krapp, Peter. 2005. “Terror and Play, or What Was Hacktivism?” Grey Room 21: 70-93.
Prensky, Marc. 2001. “Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants.” On the horizon 9 (5): 1–6.
Prensky, Marc, & Bruce D. Berry. 2001. “Do they really think differently?” On the horizon 9 (6): 1–9.
Selwyn, Neil. 2009. “The digital native – myth and reality.” Aslib Proceedings 61 (4) (May 7): 364-379. doi:10.1108/00012530910973776.
Shah, Nishant, & Fieke Jansen. 2011. Digital AlterNatives With a Cause?: Book 1 - To Be: Preface. In Digital AlterNatives With a Cause?: Book 1 - To Be. Bangalore: Hivos & Centre for Internet and Society.
Shah, Nishant, YiPing (Zona) Tsou, Simeon Oriko, Cole Flor, Prabhas Pokharel, Nonkululeko Godana, & Maesy Angelina. 2010. Position Papers - Digital Natives with a Cause? Thinkathon. In Position Papers - Digital Natives with a Cause? Thinkathon 2010. Hivos Knowledge Programme partners.
Shah, Nishant, Esther Weltervrede, YiPing (Zona) Tsou, Marc Stumpel, Alaa Abd El Fatah, Joanna Wheeler, & Maesy Angelina. 2011. Digital AlterNatives with a Cause?: Book 2 - To Think. Bangalore: Hivos & Centre for Internet and Society.
Smith, Catharine. 2011. Egypt’s Facebook Revolution: Wael Ghonim Thanks The Social Network. Huffington Post. February 11. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/02/11/egypt-facebook-revolution-wael-ghonim_n_822078.html.
Sprigman, Chris. 2003. “Democratic Hacks.” Foreign Policy 138: 90. Taylor, Chris. 2011. “Why not call it a Facebook revolution?” CNN, February 24. http://articles.cnn.com/2011-02-24/tech/facebook.revolution_1_facebook-wael-ghonim-social-media?_s=PM:TECH.
Wiersma, Wybo. 2010. Digital Natives: Mythical tribe, or savvy youth of nowadays? wybowiersma.net. http://wybowiersma.net/pub/essays/Wiersma,Wybo,Digital_natives_mythical_tribe_or_tech_savvy_youth_of_nowadays.pdf.
The Everyday Digital Native Video Contest
ell us your digital story! What makes you so fond of the Interwebz? Do you love spending weekends signing cyber petitions for an Open Web? You get Game Time only once a day, but happily skip dinner for those 60 minutes? Multi-tabs and multi-tasking are interchangeable for you. You know how to build a processor from car spare parts!!!
We think Digital Natives are quite comfortable adapting to digital technologies, gadgets and devices. They Think, Act and Connect using digital tools and interfaces.
You are Legion. You are the Common Man. The Everyday Digital Native is about your Daily Digital Life. Tell the world what makes your digital story so special.
I agree with much of the sentiment underlying Bernard Harcourt’s recent comment piece in the Guardian, ‘Occupy’s new grammar of political disobedience’, and I fully endorse his opening statement:
The forcible police evictions of Occupy protesters in New York, Chicago, Oakland, Montreal, Toronto, Berlin and elsewhere raise critical questions about political speech – questions that accentuate many of the troubles we’ve been having with our public discourse surrounding this new leaderless resistance movement.
Later, Harcourt introduces the terms grammar and syntax: