New modes of integration: Individuality and sociality in digital networks

Marian Adolf, Dennis Deicke, Jan 10, 2015
Commentary by Stephen Downes

This paper looks at the impact of the decline of mass media on community. It suggests that a two-part process takes place: first, the removal of individuals from traditional social structures and supports, and second, their reintegration into a new type of community defined by networked sociality. "The latter kind, typical for modernity, is based not on resemblance (or even kinship) but rooted in complex society’s ever increasing interdependency." Rather than being part of a traditional cultural group, in other words, we get personalized networks. This gives us "new modalities of social integration: a permanent process of addressing and referencing information is set in motion. Every link, every hashtag, every meme that is shared — representing media-borne information — embodies this notion." It's a good paper, though written in dense and heavy prose, but worth the effort to decipher. See also Colombo and Landri, Schools and Networked Sociality. Image, Galley et. al., from Conole.

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