The Virtual / Edition 1

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Rob Shields unravels the origins and the many contemporary meanings of the virtual as a concept. Shields dissects the history of the virtual world and takes his analysis beyond the technologies themselves to show how the virtual has infiltrated our daily lives at every level. From the moral panics over paedophile stalkers on the net to the automated telemarketing that interrupts our dinners and clogs our answer phones to the laptops which keep us connected to the office twenty four hours a day, technology has become an integral part of modern living. With insight and clarity, The Virtual reveals how technology has become virtually entwined in contemporary society.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780415281805
  • Publisher: Taylor & Francis
  • Publication date: 12/28/2002
  • Series: Key Ideas Series
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 264
  • Product dimensions: 5.20 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Table of Contents

List of illustrations
1 The return of the virtual 1
Definitions of the virtual 2
Virtualisms in history 4
Utopian virtualism 15
2 The virtual and the real 18
Virtually real 20
Slippage 23
The virtual is real but not actual 25
Virtual thinkers: Proust, Bergson, Deleuze 26
Memory 38
Technologies of the virtual 41
3 Digital virtualities 45
Simulation 47
Virtual reality and virtual environments 54
Applications of virtual reality 65
Computer as filter 69
The autonomy of the virtual 73
4 Virtual Africa 81
Globalization 82
Digital virtuality and globalization 85
Virtual Africa 87
5 Joystick generation: cyberpunks, camkids and family life 93
Cyberserfs in Cyberia 95
Internet proofing 99
Cyberpunks or virtual subcultures? 104
Virtual fears: hackers and real knowledge 107
Joystick generation: virtual subculture 109
Everyday virtuality 114
6 Work: virtual working 116
Virtualized work 120
Virtualizing skill: the trades and professions 127
Alienation 130
The quality of work: data overload and instruction rituals 132
Users 135
Computerization of the workplace 137
The 'workstation' 140
The flexible office 141
Ubiquitous computing 143
Clerical workers 145
Bodies at work 147
Technicians and support workers 150
Digital agents 156
7 Business sense for a virtual world 160
Economic virtualism 161
Digital virtuality: banks and brokerages 165
Virtual information: online rumours 168
Digital virtuality at actual firms 170
Managing the virtual and actual 175
Brands and relationships 177
8 Risk culture, trust and the virtual 184
Risk avoidance and 'risk society' 186
Knowledge societies, the media and risk 188
Individuals and the experience of risk 191
A tetrology of risk 194
Risk culture of everyday life 202
9 The future of the virtual 205
Terrorism as virtual war 209
The future of the virtual 211
Notes 215
References 220
Index 234
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