Virtual Society?: Technology, Cyberbole, Reality

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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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1 Five Rules of Virtuality
Conceptualizing Use and NonUse of the Internet
The PreParadigmatic Character of Virtual Reality
4 How Social is Internet Communication? A Reappraisal of Bandwidth and Anonymity Effects
Networks for PracticeBased Learning and Social Inclusion
Technology and Organization in Narratives of the eEconomy
Desiring and Resisting New Technologies
8 Getting Real about Surveillance and Privacy at Work
New Media in London
Email and the Mediation of Organizational Memory
Communion Cognition and Deep Play at the Intersection of Wall Street and Cyberspace
A Sceptical Note on the Reliance on IT in a Retail Bank
From Industrial to Information Revolutions
16 Mobile Society? Technology Distance and Presence
An Anthropological Comment

9 Virtual Society and the Cultural Practice of Study
10 The Reality of Virtual Social Support

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Об авторе (2002)

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 recipient of a Fulbright Scholarship and a Fulbright Senior Scholarship, and the winner of an ESRC Senior Research Fellowship. He moved to the University of Oxford in autumn 2000 to take up the Chair of Marketing at the Sa�d Business School, University of Oxford. He is currently Director of the ESRC' Virtual Society?' programme.

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