Community Without Community in Digital Culture
The word 'digital' refers to both digital data, as used in computers, and also the digits, fingers, of the hand, and thus by extension touch, which has long been a trope for connectivity, community, and participation. Thus, in its drive towards greater connectivity, our culture is digital in more than one sense, in that it increasingly encourages such contact (from the Latin, 'com', together, and 'tangere', to touch). But at the same time such technologies always involve separation, gap and distance. Community Without Community in Digital Culture suggests that networks always involve this other aspect of touch, separation, distance and gap, as a necessary concomitant of our fundamental technicity. Thus, against the prevailing presumptions that new technologies involve greater contact, relationality and community, this book proposes that they exemplify the gap inherent in touch, the 'inconceivable, small, 'infinitesimal difference'' that separates us from each other in time and space. In this such technologies are part of the history of the death of God, the loss of an overarching metaphysical framework which would bind us together in some form of relation or communion. This can be understood in terms of contingency, which has the same root as contact.
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