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The Digitized Self in the Age of the Internet: What Would Arnheim and McLuhan Have to Say about This? PowerPoint Presentation
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The Digitized Self in the Age of the Internet: What Would Arnheim and McLuhan Have to Say about This?. Gerald Cupchik University of Toronto www.utsc.utoronto.ca/~cupchik. Teachers. Mr. Eisenstein Daniel Berlyne Bob Zajonc Kurt Danziger Guy Swanson Paul Bouissac Howard Leventhal.

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slide1

The Digitized Self in the Age of the Internet: What Would Arnheim and McLuhan Have to Say about This?

Gerald Cupchik

University of Toronto

www.utsc.utoronto.ca/~cupchik

slide2

Teachers

Mr. Eisenstein Daniel Berlyne

Bob Zajonc Kurt Danziger

Guy Swanson Paul Bouissac

Howard Leventhal

slide3

What I Have Learned From Research in General

- Primacy of the phenomenon (Goethe)

- Empirical discourse with myself

- Empirical narratives within scholarly communities

slide4

Fundamental Substantive Problems

1. Everyday versus Aesthetic Processing

a. Everyday  figure against ground.

b. Aesthetic  figure in relation to ground.

- e.g., untrained viewers of art & everyday processing...

slide5

2. Inside versus Outside Perspective

- Bullough (1912): aesthetic distance

- Finding the right distance

Subjective experience (engaged)

versus

Objective knowledge (detached)

slide6

Engaged Self: Emergent Meaning

Soft-edge images invite us to resolve them.

slide10

Detached Self: Eternally Defined Meanings

Hard-edge images which provide Gibsonian “affordances”

slide13

3. Fundamental Methodological Problem

Reconciling...

- phenomenology and behaviourism

- quantitative and qualitative data

Inside Experience of phenomenon

versus

Outside Reduction through measurement

slide14

Narratives of the self

Poetry writing and performance

Dutch television advertisements

Method for qualitative analysis:

www.utsc.utoronto.ca/~cupchik

www.web.net/~michellehilscher

slide15

How Can These Lessons Be Applied to a New Domain?

The Idea of the Self:

Ego is a collection of skills

Self is the ego of which I am aware

Identity is the ego that my self approves of

slide16

19th Century

  • Emergence of self as a modern concept.
  • Existential realities: isolation, alienation, compartmentalization.
  • Comte: “How can a person both shape and be shaped by society?”
  • - Darwin and adaptation
  • Veblen (1899): “conspicuous consumption” in The Theory of the Leisure Class
slide17

Early 20th Century

  • Pragmatism and Symbolic Interactionism
  • George H. Mead: the “Generalized Other”
  • Charles Cooley: the “Looking Glass Self”
slide18

Mid 20th Century (1960s)

  • Miller & Swanson: Entrepreneurial Personality becomes Bureaucratic Personality
  • Reisman, Glazer & Denney: The Lonely Crowd; The Other-Directed Personality
  • Other-directed persons “want to be loved rather than esteemed.”
slide19

- Berger & Luckmann: “Reality maintenance” through conversation which creates a “collective order.”

- Erving Goffman: Theatrical aspects of performance in face-to-face interaction.

- Public vs. private

slide20

Turn of the 21st Century

  • “Belief propagation theory”
  • - “I am responded to, therefore I am”
  • - Cogito ergo sum
  • - Smart et al. “Our social networks constitute a particularly potent source of bio-external scaffolding...”
slide21

Realities of Mass Media

If: “method is not ontologically neutral”

(Danziger)

Then:

“media are not ontologically neutral”

What are the hidden assumptions behind different media?

slide22

Rudolf Arnheim on the Problems of “Cultural Transportation”

  • - 1953: A Forecast of Television
  • TV is a “means of cultural transportation” whereby the “wide world itself enters our room.”
  • yet, “a mere instrument of transmission”
slide23

- “the more perfect our means of direct experience, the more easily we are caught by the dangerous illusion that perceiving is tantamount to knowing and understanding.”

- TV “may also keep the individual citizen from meeting his fellows” such that “the more isolated will be the individual in his retreat” as a “lonesome consumer of spectacles.”

slide24

McLuhan: “The Medium is the Message”

- New media: “cool” media that promote interaction helping us regain our tribal consciousness.

- Less isolated as members of a “global village.”

slide25

- Nick Carr (2007): the user is “wrapped in a cocoon of text.”

  • Internet “encourages participation but it also sucks up our attention and dominates our senses.”
  • Media transmit information to us but also gather information about us.
slide26

Carr quoting McLuhan from Understanding Media:

  • “Once we have surrendered our senses and nervous systems to the private manipulation of those who would try to benefit by taking a lease on our eyes and nerves, we don’t really have any rights left.”
slide27

The Internet and the Digitized Self

The real and the virtual...

And the virtually real.

If media are not ontologically neutral...

Then how do they affect the individual?

slide28

1. Paradoxical realities:

- The “there and now” (Zhao, Temple U):

- Zero time lag; overcoming spatial distance

- Contrasted with sequential & telegraphic speech in chat rooms...

- Problem in face-to-face context?

slide29

2. The need for validation when we “conspicuously display ourselves”...

  • Modern version of Veblen’s “conspicuous consumption”
  • Disposition to conspicuous display an extension of Reisman’s “other-directed” personality.
slide30

- Implications for presentation of illusory or false self...

- Interaction and the false validation of the Self or validation of a false Self.

- Parallel worlds that are self-focused.

slide31

- Zosia Belski’s report on Facebook and a culture of narcissism

- Sara Konrath (U of Michigan): loss of empathy

Hypothesis:

If there is an ideal-self versus real-self discrepancy, there is a greater need for validation.

slide32

3. What about the public versus private self?

  • - The Web and the end of forgetting.
  • Jeffrey Rosen article in New York Times.
  • - Rosen affirms “the need for new ways of defining ourselves without reference to what others say about us and new ways of forgiving one another for the digital trails that will follow us forever.”
slide33

4. Mass Media manipulation and Facebook

  • e.g., targeted personal advertising based on preferences and interests.
  • Are we conscious of this?
  • Hypothesis:
  • The greater the need for validation, the more these sites are treated as real; the less aware people are of potential manipulation.
slide34

5. The Virtual Reinforcer

- Matt Richtel in New York Times: Hooked on Gadgets; Bursts of information; stimulation and the dopamine squirt.

- Fragmented attention

- Appliance operator

slide35

6. Are you relating to the internet as subject matter or form (style)?

  • Hypotheses:
  • - Relate in terms of social networking subject matter: need for personal validation.
  • Relate in terms of style/form: affirmation of personal agency.
thank you

Thank You

Gerald Cupchik, Professor of Psychology

University of Toronto

www.utsc.utoronto.ca/~cupchik

cupchik@utsc.utoronto.ca