In a world largely divided between giddy celebrants and dire detractors of digital culture, Milad Doueihi is one of the very few who speak with broadly informed and measured authority about what the rise of the digital means. Writing as a philologist and intellectual historian, Doueihi argues that digital culture is or will be akin to religion in the scope of its influence and power, and that because of its omnipresence it requires special analysis. Digital Cultures is the culmination of his deep and far-reaching attempts to meet this need.
Doueihi shows clearly how applying the notions of print culture to digital textuality distorts the logic and promise of the new literacy. He then moves on to examine a number of inherent contradictions or tensions in digital culture: between digital technology’s capacity to create a public sphere and its use as an instrument of control and censorship; between the possible collective and anonymous construction of knowledge in the Wikisphere and the dissemination of errors. Throughout, he strives to give a balanced account of digitization’s potential for both disruption and innovation.
Writing accessibly about the underlying technology, Doueihi explores the multidimensional question of what it means to participate in online culture—from literacy and citizenship to texts, archiving, and storage. By bringing together topics explored separately elsewhere—such as copyright, digital subjectivity, and social networks—Digital Cultures offers a rare, comprehensive view of the emerging digital space.
Digital Cultures is a wide-ranging and knowledgeable exploration of what it means to participate in online culture. Doueihi covers an impressive range of topics concerning the digital, which include literacy, citizenship, texts, and archiving and storage. The technology is explained in satisfying detail that nevertheless remains accessible throughout. A must-read for anyone interested in this or related fields.
Doueihi's argument [is] revelatory and important. He presents the diversity of digital practices and the importance of digital literacy in an increasingly complex textual environment. Moving beyond basic functional literacy, Doueihi asks how digitization configures a meta-literacy, "of what it means to be literate.'"
By showing how modes of communication and human relationships have changed since its rise, [Doueihi] makes a persuasive case that digital culture has broken free from print culture, which extends from the Gutenberg Bible of the 1450s to the present. Instant response, brevity, minimal spelling and grammar, novel syntax and different modes of composition have created new forms of literacy...Written in the "old" discursive format, Digital Cultures includes much to think about. The pace of change is fast, but Doueihi's insight is fresh.
- 208 pages
- 6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches
- Harvard University Press
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