From Counterculture to Cyberculture: Stewart Brand, the Whole Earth Network, and the Rise of Digital Utopianism (Google eBook)

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University of Chicago Press, Oct 15, 2010 - Social Science - 354 pages
18 Reviews

In the early 1960s, computers haunted the American popular imagination. Bleak tools of the cold war, they embodied the rigid organization and mechanical conformity that made the military-industrial complex possible. But by the 1990s—and the dawn of the Internet—computers started to represent a very different kind of world: a collaborative and digital utopia modeled on the communal ideals of the hippies who so vehemently rebelled against the cold war establishment in the first place. 

From Counterculture to Cyberculture is the first book to explore this extraordinary and ironic transformation. Fred Turner here traces the previously untold story of a highly influential group of San Francisco Bay–area entrepreneurs: Stewart Brand and the Whole Earth network. Between 1968 and 1998, via such familiar venues as the National Book Award–winning Whole Earth Catalog, the computer conferencing system known as WELL, and, ultimately, the launch of the wildly successful Wired magazine, Brand and his colleagues brokered a long-running collaboration between San Francisco flower power and the emerging technological hub of Silicon Valley. Thanks to their vision, counterculturalists and technologists alike joined together to reimagine computers as tools for personal liberation, the building of virtual and decidedly alternative communities, and the exploration of bold new social frontiers. 

Shedding new light on how our networked culture came to be, this fascinating book reminds us that the distance between the Grateful Dead and Google, between Ken Kesey and the computer itself, is not as great as we might think.

  

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Review: From Counterculture to Cyberculture: Stewart Brand, the Whole Earth Network, and the Rise of Digital Utopianism

User Review  - Bastian Greshake - Goodreads

Pretty interesting summary of how many of the household names of cyberculture got to fame and power. And most of the critique regarding journalistic ethics and libertarianism is also spot on. The ... Read full review

Review: From Counterculture to Cyberculture: Stewart Brand, the Whole Earth Network, and the Rise of Digital Utopianism

User Review  - David Mayes - Goodreads

As a life-long student of communication, I somehow missed this one by Fred Turner at Stanford. I personally experienced my own transformation from countercultural grad student in San Jose, to Intel ... Read full review

Contents

Introduction
1
The Shifting Politics of the Computational Metaphor
11
Stewart Brand Meets the Cybernetic Counterculture
41
The Whole Earth Catalog as Information Technology
69
Taking the Whole Earth Digital
103
Virtuality and Community on the WELL
141
Networking the New Economy
175
Wired
207
The Triumph of the Network Mode
237
Notes
263
Bibliography
291
Index
313
Copyright

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About the author (2010)

Fred Turner is assistant professor in the department of communication at Stanford University. He is the author of Echoes of Combat: The Vietnam War in American Memory.

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