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What's the Matter with the Internet?

Poster, Mark

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ISBN 10: 0816638349 / ISBN 13: 9780816638345
Published by Univ of Minnesota Press
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Bibliographic Details

Title: What's the Matter with the Internet?

Publisher: Univ of Minnesota Press

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition:BRAND NEW

About this title


In What's the Matter with the Internet?, leading cultural theorist Mark Poster offers a sophisticated and astute assessment of the potential the new medium has to redefine culture and politics. Avoiding the mindless hype and meaningless jargon that has characterized much of the debate about the future of the Web, he details what truly distinguishes the Internet from other media and the implications these novel properties have for such vital issues as authorship, national identity and global citizenship, the fate of ethnicity and race, and democracy.

Arguing that the Internet demands a social and cultural theory appropriate to the specific qualities of cyberspace, Poster reformulates the ideas of thinkers associated with our understanding of post-modern culture and the media (including Foucault, Deleuze, Heidegger, Baudrillard, and Derrida) to account for and illuminate the virtual world, paying particular attention to its political dimensions and the nature of identity. In this innovative analysis, Poster acknowledges that although the colonization of the Internet by corporations and governments does threaten to retard its capacity to bring about genuine change, the new medium is still capable of transforming both contemporary social practices and the way we see the world and ourselves.


Is cyberculture really a culture? Critical theorist Mark Poster asks what we mean by these words in What's the Matter with the Internet? Drawing on the work of Heidegger, Foucault, Baudrillard, and many more heavy hitters, he explores how we think about culture in an age when the word has been appropriated by practically everyone to the point of meaninglessness. Are ethnicity and sexuality important any more, if they even exist? Is the Net a radical tool for marginalized people or another arm of oppression? Poster, like his peers, is more interested in how and why we ask these questions than in answering them, leaving conclusions to the reader.

His metaconclusions, though, merit serious attention. As our technologies break down many, if not all, of our socially constructed barriers, how can we continue to study an increasingly incoherent subject? He calls for a more technologically literate criticism and leads the way with aplomb. His writing ranges from clear and thoughtful to dense and jargon-heavy, though most readers will be able to keep up. Poster seeks for a smarter, timelier critique in What's the Matter with the Internet? and, perhaps, finds the right path. --Rob Lightner

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