Cyberculture Theorists: Manuel Castells and Donna Haraway

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Taylor & Francis, Dec 18, 2006 - Computers - 164 pages
4 Reviews

This book surveys a ‘cluster’ of works that seek to explore the cultures of cyberspace, the Internet and the information society. It introduces key ideas, and includes detailed discussion of the work of two key thinkers in this area, Manuel Castells and Donna Haraway, as well as outlining the development of cyberculture studies as a field. To do this, the book also explores selected ‘moments’ in this development, from the early 1990s, when cyberspace and cyberculture were only just beginning to come together as ideas, up to the present day, when the field of cyberculture studies has grown and bloomed, producing innovative theoretical and empirical work from a diversity of standpoints.  Key topics include:

  • life on the screen
  • network society
  • space of flows
  • cyborg methods.

Cyberculture Theorists is the ideal starting point for anyone wanting to understand how to theorise cyberculture in all its myriad forms.

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David Bell Cyberculture Theorists: Manuel Castells and Donna Haraway, Great Britain: Routledge Taylor and Francis Group, 2007, 161 pages. ISBN 978-0415324311
Introduction:- In a generation where we
are no more known as citizens but Netizens (connected globally through Internet), David Bell's Cyberculture Theorists: Manuel Castells and Donna Haraway, introduces the reader to the Routledge critical thinkers and their concepts that are developed in late 90's based on cultures of cyberspace, the Internet and the Information society. David Bell is a Senior Lecturer in Critical Human Geography at the University of Leeds. His recent publications include The Cybercultures Reader (2000), An Introduction to Cybercultures (2001) and Cyberculture: The Key Concepts (2004).
This book contains nine chapters that helps the reader to explore Cyberspace and its culture, Information society, Internet, and Information technology and Communication. Answers to the questions such as why Cyberculture, various developments in the cyber world, purpose of Manuel Castells and Donna Haraway's theories and their key ideas capture the contents of the book. David Bell through this book provides a series of introduction of major critical thinkers who had influenced literary studies and humanities. The book gives a way in by offering an accessible overview of the Routledge Critical Thinkers' ideas and works by guiding for further readings. It not only equips one to approach the new ideas, but also empowers by leading the reader back to the theorists own texts and encourages to develop ones own opinion.
The Routledge Critical Thinkers series provides the book which one can use for a new name or concepts that appears in the field of literary studies and humanities, and in the new field 'Cultures of Cyberspace' which is in stake. This books acts as a bridge between the reader and the original texts, not replacing them but rather complementing what they have written. It is all to emerge a broader intellectual, cultural and social history by offering authoritative and intellectual introductions. David Bell tries to capture the breadth and diversity of things under the banner Cyberculture. The breadth and diversity is part of the thrill and part of the problem of prediction: the sheer variety (& unpredictability) of forms, content, platforms, devices, and their manifold convergences that makes the landscape of cyberculture very complex. The Author is particular in explaining the technical terms and thus uses boxes to describe events or ideas in a detailed way. The definitions that are frequently used or coined by the thinkers are also highlighted using boxes in all the chapters as and when required as the theories and ideas are explained.
The first Chapter 'Why Cyberculture?' is not only about introducing or defining, but also reflects upon the still-morphing field Cyberspace which is an imaginary space that exists in, on and between 'computational devices', digital devices, new media technologies, digital animations and simulations of all kinds. It deals with how conceptualization of cyberspace was coined from Gibson's Neuromancer, its role as source code for hard- and software developers and thus the birthplace and date of the term 'cyberculture' that has been more obscure and uncertain. David Bell tries to connect together the set of threads that carries the heterogeneities and complexities. Chapter two 'Moments in Cyberculture' discusses three 'moments' in cyberculture theory, mapping some of the key changes in this disorderly field viz., Michael Benedikt's work Cyberspace:first Steps (1991) a book which was published just ahead of cyberspace; Sliver's second-wave 'Cyberculture Studies' (2000) where Sherry Turkle's Life on the Screen (1995) is included in the discussion representing the first flush of social and cultural commentary on cyberspace, and Maria Bakardjieva's Internet Society (2005). A mere reflection is given on the present directions as to
 

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This has proven to be a very well written, at times endearingly honest and upfront, synthesis of key ideas and key writers of the last 30 years, dealing with the tangled world of cyberculture theory. A tale told with the patience of a great scolar with a very useful further reading section. It truly suited my needs wonderfully! 

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