Interpersonal Divide: The Search for Community in a Technological Age / Edition 1

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Electronic communication now keeps us connected, wired, and cabled to the entire world. Why, then, do we often feel displaced and increasingly isolated in the global village? Interpersonal Divide: The Search for Community in a Technological Age seeks to answer the question: have media and technology created a social gap, eroding our sense of community? Author Michael Bugeja tackles this question by taking a broad and interdisciplinary approach, incorporating a number of different viewpoints, including global, ethical, philosophical, corporate, pop cultural, and sociological perspectives. Bugeja analyzes the "interpersonal divide"—the void that develops between people when we spend too much time in virtual rather than in real communities—and makes a case for face-to-face communication in a technological world. He traces media history to show how other generations have coped with similar problems during periods of great technological change, recommending ways to "repatriate to the village."
Interpersonal Divide, a ground-breaking book, documents how long-standing media theories—including ones by Marshall McLuhan—may no longer hold in the wake of new media and intrusive technology. Bugeja investigates the impact and motives of media ecosystems that have polluted the Internet and other digital devices with marketing ploys, delivering to consumers a global mall rather than a global village. Interpersonal Divide informs readers how to use media and technology wisely so that they enhance rather than replace community.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Perhaps no previous scholar has synthesized the ways media technologies are harming a sense of community, especially in such a compact book. ... Perhaps [Bugeja] ought to give himself credit for implanting optimism in at least some of his readers, because his book, if read carefully, is empowering." — The Des Moines Register

"Wise, troubling, tough-minded and profoundly on target, Interpersonal Divide is a thoughtfully human response to the burgeoning challenge to our sense and practice of community posed by the new communications technologies, their use as well as misuse." — Hodding Carter III, President and CEO, John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

"Michael Bugeja has delivered a creative, new approach to media and technology in this thoughtful and humanistic treatment. The emphasis here is on meaning and human communication, not a tired polemic on the inevitability of technological change. . . . Refreshing!" — Everette Dennis, Distinguished Felix E. Larkin Professor, Fordham University

"Michael Bugeja's Interpersonal Divide is a book of concerned prescription. An accomplished poet, an ethicist and a journalism professor, Bugeja aims to assess "changes resulting from the Technology Revolution of the 1990s." He's careful to note at the start of this admirably clear volume that he has not written a book of "social panic." But he has written one of social high anxiety. ... At the end of each chapter, he lists journal exercises and discussion ideas for those who feel inspired to examine their media habits. You could do a lot worse with your spare time (and probably will). Bugeja largely lives up to the second goal he set for himself — to produce a multidisciplinary work "to explain complex truths in plain language rather than to validate those truths via complex language" —The Washington Post

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195173390
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 1/1/2005
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 240
  • Product dimensions: 8.10 (w) x 5.40 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Table of Contents

Introduction: The Need to Belong
1. Displacement in the Global Village
High-Tech and Original Habitats
The Interpersonal Divide
Big Box Displacement
Loss of Perspective
A Lifelong Quest
2. The Human Condition
Peace and Empowerment
Survival in Virtual Environments
The Marketing of Self-Help
The Ethics of Our Condition
Convenience Over Conscience
3. Habits of a High-Tech Age
The Hype of Self-Help
Seven Habits of Highly Mediated People
The Accelerated Biological Clock
Wondering What Is Real
4. Impact of Media and Technology
The Real and Virtually Real
The Dawning of Mass Media
The Advent of Marketing
Vision and Values
5. Blurring of Identity and Place
The Disembodied Self
Mapping the Consumer Genome
Moral and Social Upheaval
Endangered Habitats
6. The Medium is the Moral
McLuhan, Revisited
The New Generation Gap
The Unnatural Order of Things
7. Icons and Caricatures
Icons and Idols
Icons and Advertising
Mentors and Caricatures
8. Living Three Dimensionally
Virtues and Environments
The Moral Importance of Place
Dimensions of Community
9. Repatriation to the Village
Ethical Inventories
Foci of Our Discontent
Mis-Mediated Messages
A Place in the Village

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