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Virtual Society?: Technology, Cyberbole, Reality

Virtual Society?: Technology, Cyberbole, Reality

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ISBN: 9780199248766    Publisher: Oxford University Press Year of publishing: 2002     Format:  Paperback No of Pages: 368        Language: English
Almost all aspects of social, cultural, economic and political life stand to be affected by the new electronic technologies. Virtual Society? is one vision of the consequential impact of these technologies....Read more
Almost all aspects of social, cultural, economic and political life stand to be affected by the new electronic technologies. Virtual Society? is one vision of the consequential impact of these technologies. But to what extent and in what ways are the Internet and other electronic technologies really changing our lives? To what extent are we moving to a 'virtual society'? This collection provides a comprehensive set of detailed empirical studies of the genesis and use of these new technologies, ranging widely across application areas: from cyber-cafes to new media; email and organizational memory: to surveillance-capable technologies in the workplace; virtual reality to CCTV in high-rise housing; stock exchange addicts to student study networks. It offers a unique perspective - analytic scepticism - for making sense of some surprisingly counterintuitive results, and for developing a refreshingly critical view of many taken-for-granted assumptions about the impact of the Internet on social relations and institutions. Each chapter presents a high quality exemplar of its own disciplinary perspective, addressed to a general social science audience.
The diversity of disciplinary perspectives is brought to bear in a central message laid out in the opening discussion of the 'Five Rules of Virtuality', that with due reflexive caution and ironic sensitivity, general messages can be drawn from the observations of particular substantive contexts. In particular, claims that we are moving to a 'virtual society' need to be tempered by a reassessment of connections between what counts as 'real' and 'virtual'. This book will appeal to students and researchers in a very wide range of disciplines, both within and beyond the social sciences and management, and to all practitioners struggling with the realities of the new virtual technologies
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About the author:

Steve Woolgar was Professor of Sociology, Head of the Department of Human Sciences, and Director of CRICT (Centre for Research into Innovation, Culture... Read more

Steve Woolgar was Professor of Sociology, Head of the Department of Human Sciences, and Director of CRICT (Centre for Research into Innovation, Culture and Technology) until 2000. He has held visiting appointments at McGill University, MIT, Ecole Nationale Superieure des Mines, Paris, and University of California, San Diego. He is the recipient of a Fulbright Scholarship and a Fulbright Senior Scholarship, and the winner of an ESRC Senior Research Fellowship. He moved to the University of Oxford in autumn 2000 to take up the Chair of Marketing at the Sa d Business School, University of Oxford. He is currently Director of the ESRC' Virtual Society?' programme.

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Review:
... intelligent, well-grounded and carefully drawn insights into the take up and use of ICTs ... intriguing case studies ... Throughout, Woolgar's book provides concrete sociological evidence to...Read more
... intelligent, well-grounded and carefully drawn insights into the take up and use of ICTs ... intriguing case studies ... Throughout, Woolgar's book provides concrete sociological evidence to justify the question mark in the title. European Journal of Communication This work shows social scientists seriously getting to grips with the complexitites of the social implications of electronic technologies. It should also be read widely beyond this community, stimulating dialogue with others working in the area, such as industry practitioners, government planners, and academics from other disciplines and societies. Geoff Walsham, Professor of Management Studies, Judge Institute, University of Cambridge This stunning volume is obligatory reading for all those studying "cyberspace" and its contents and discontents. It is one of the first deep empirical studies of this scope analyzing the changes occasioned by the widespread development of networked information technologies. A subtle, intertwined scholarly effort, this book is a landmark achievement, marking the maturity of social studies of computing and IT. Susan Leigh Star, Professor Of Communication, University of California at San Diego From Woolgar's "five rules of virtuality" to Pollner's delightful account of his adventures as a dot com investor, this challenging collection will be essential reading for all of those interested in the social relations of the new information technologies. Donald MacKenzie, Professor of Sociology, Edinburgh University; Author of Inventing Accuracy This book shows the essential contribution of social sciences to the understanding of the network society, our society. Based on scholarly research, it provides a rigorous account of the diverse effects of information and communication technologies on the social fabric of our lives. It is a great antidote against mythologies and media hype on this critical subject matter. Manuel Castells, Professor of Sociology, University of California at Berkeley
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