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COMS 381 : Cross-Pollination of Groups of People - Communication Assignment Help

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  1. What is Turner’s argument in “Where the counterculture met the new economy”? Identify a strength and limitation of this argument. 

Turner argues that the Catalog offered the cross-pollination of groups of people. The catalog was an educational tool designed to give users freedom and individual agency. Which Turner refers to as “personal power” which allows us to shape our own environments and share adventures. The WELL became a network similar to the catalog which involved to a gift economy. 

  1. Is Turner’s argument determinist, constructivist or both? Provide three arguments to support your answer.  

Turners argument is constructivist because it regards technology as a social product. Turner illustrates that the WELL is “an organized social form in which scattered individuals are linked to one another by an information technology and through it experience of a shared mindset”. (Pg.29) Therefore, the WELL is a technology that is used as a social product to bring individuals with the same mind set closer together. A constructivist views technological change as being the result of a social dynamic. Turner argues that technological changed happened when the Catalog was replaced with the WELL. The WELL being accessible online allowed people with different ideologies to interact with one another. This resulted in a social dynamic being formed through the change of technology. Constructivist argue that the social sphere determines technological development. Turners argument illustrates this when the WELL took over the Catolog. The social sphere required a more efficient way of communication and connection between strangers, so the WELL was developed. This proves that the social sphere has a huge influence on technological development.

  1. Consider Carey’s discussion of the telegraph. Did the WELL continue or challenge the temporal and spatial changes in perception initiated by the telegraph? Explain. Provide two arguments to support your explanation. 

  2. Did the WELL contribute to the standardization/automation of communication discussed by Mumford? Does the story that Turner tells map a move from less to more standardization of communication? Provide two arguments to support your answer. 

  3. Propose a question that connects Turner’s text with any of the readings studied in class. Provide an answer. Please note that your question should not overlap with any of the questions of the midterm.  

  4. Consider Graff’s discussion of the printing press and its impact on knowledge distribution and circulation. What is the impact of the WELL on knowledge distribution and circulation? Compare both discussions. Identify either two similarities OR two differences OR a similarity and a difference between the way the printing press and the WELL affected knowledge.


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  • Posted on : February 18th, 2018
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