The Trouble with Culture: How Computers Are Calming the Culture Wars

The Trouble with Culture: How Computers Are Calming the Culture Wars

by F. Allan Hanson
     
 

ISBN-10: 0791470172

ISBN-13: 9780791470176

Pub. Date: 02/08/2007

Publisher: State University of New York Press

How the computer revolution can ease polarization and help calm the culture wars.

In this highly original book, anthropologist F. Allan Hanson reveals an entirely unanticipated but vital link between two of the most widely discussed features of contemporary American society: the computer revolution and the culture wars. Hanson argues that the culture wars

Overview

How the computer revolution can ease polarization and help calm the culture wars.

In this highly original book, anthropologist F. Allan Hanson reveals an entirely unanticipated but vital link between two of the most widely discussed features of contemporary American society: the computer revolution and the culture wars. Hanson argues that the culture wars stem from a divergence in the evolutionary paths of society and culture. Societies have evolved significantly over the last few millennia from small bands of farmers or hunter-gatherers into huge, internally diverse nation-states, while cultures—the closed systems of meanings and symbols that kept small, face-to-face societies together—have failed to keep pace. If cultures became more open, Hanson contends, then the maladaptive rupture between society and culture would be healed and the clashes that currently beset us would be greatly diminished. Interweaving lucid analysis with concrete case studies of common law, education, and other areas of contemporary life, Hanson demonstrates how the widespread use of computers is, in fact, encouraging more originality and open-mindedness, with the potential to ease polarization and calm the culture wars.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780791470176
Publisher:
State University of New York Press
Publication date:
02/08/2007
Pages:
202
Product dimensions:
6.20(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.70(d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments

1. Culture Gone Bad

Culture
Social and Cultural Evolution
Open and Closed Culture
Automation: A Preview
An Overview

2. Cultural Contradiction and Compartmentalization

Culture Wars
Poverty: From Making a Difference to Indifference
The Divisive Effects of Automation

3. Fixing the Trouble with Culture: Relativism, Postmodernism, and Automation

Cultural Relativism
Postmodernism
Automation

4. The Human Rage to Classify

Classifying
Classification by Correspondence
Taxonomic Classification
The Contrasting Logics of Correspondence and Taxonomy

5. Classification and the Common Law

Legal Information
“Common-placing”
Supply-Side Control versus an “Appalling Glut”
Key Numbers
Implications
Conclusion

6. Automated Classification and Indexing

Classifying and Indexing
How Automated Indexing Works
Can Artificial Intelligence Classify?
Can Artificial Intelligence Create Classificatory Schemes?

7. The Automated Mode in Principle

Internet Communication, Hypertext, and Automated Searching
Focused Searching
Open-Ended Searching

8. The Automated Mode in Practice

Automation and the Law
Scholarly Research and Education
Business and Manufacturing

9. The New Superorganic

Decentering the Individual
The New Superorganic

10. Opening Culture, Expanding Individuals

Notes
Bibliography
Index

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