Digitizing Race: Visual Cultures of the Internet
Lisa Nakamura just sent me a copy of her newest book Digitizing Race: Visual Cultures of the Internet (amazon.ca link). It looks like an excellent resource for my course Children, Technology and Play, and is hopefully a great opportunity for educators and scholars to understand how issues of race are played out online in our visual culture. My fun summer reading. More news at 11.
`Public’ online spaces don’t carry speech, rights…
Ken sent me this link. I saw it on my RSS yesterday, but I was ‘like duh!’. But with his prodding I read it. Nothing new, unless you think you have ‘rights’ online. Canadians do not have the same rights to freedom of speech that the Americans enjoy. Perhaps that’s the price to pay for not living in a theocracy. But anyway, if people think that there is anything ‘public’ about the internet, you have to think again. Your broadband internet provider isn’t a public org, it is a private corporation. Whether you go to Live journal, Second Life or Club Penguin (for kids), there is a corporation behind it. Even open source non-profit sites have to have a Terms of Service agreement that isn’t much different than what a corporation has. Though there should be a free autonomous space online where we can say what we want… I say autonomous not anonymous… without someone censoring you. If you’re willing to say it in public, and go on the record, there should be a place you can say it. Like a public park or soapbox. The Tragedy of the Commons may have happened first with the enclosure of the pasture lands… a later example is the destruction of the public square in place of the mall. Though when learning became institutionalized, that was an enclosure as well. Now our locations of communication are gone, and the only thing left is what goes on in side our skull. That will be regulated in a later software upgrade.
Do you think this is paranoid? I’m not talking about future… just looking at what’s happened already.
The Associated Press: `Public’ online spaces don’t carry speech, rights
Rant all you want in a public park. A police officer generally won’t eject you for your remarks alone, however unpopular or provocative.
Say it on the Internet, and you’ll find that free speech and other constitutional rights are anything but guaranteed.
Companies in charge of seemingly public spaces online wipe out content that’s controversial but otherwise legal. Service providers write their own rules for users worldwide and set foreign policy when they cooperate with regimes like China. They serve as prosecutor, judge and jury in handling disputes behind closed doors.
The governmental role that companies play online is taking on greater importance as their services — from online hangouts to virtual repositories of photos and video — become more central to public discourse around the world. It’s a fallout of the Internet’s market-driven growth, but possible remedies, including government regulation, can be worse than the symptoms.
Dutch photographer Maarten Dors met the limits of free speech at Yahoo Inc.’s photo-sharing service, Flickr, when he posted an image of an early-adolescent boy with disheveled hair and a ragged T-shirt, staring blankly with a lit cigarette in his mouth.
Without prior notice, Yahoo deleted the photo on grounds it violated an unwritten ban on depicting children smoking. Dors eventually convinced a Yahoo manager that — far from promoting smoking — the photo had value as a statement on poverty and street life in Romania. Yet another employee deleted it again a few months later.
“I never thought of it as a photo of a smoking kid,” Dors said. “It was just of a kid in Romania and how his life is. You can never make a serious documentary if you always have to think about what Flickr will delete.”
“As we move more of our communications into social networks, how are we limiting ourselves if we can’t see alternative points of view, if we can’t see the things that offend us?
Aaron Schutz at the Education Policy Blog Post-Fordist Education: “I think emancipatory education must involve teaching skills that actually generate collective power, which progressive education does not.”
Stewart Martin writes about the “Pedagogy-of-Human-Capital” at Mute magazine – Culture and politics after the net
Efficiency is the name of the game, with reduced resources per student the supreme goal, both from the side of provision and from the supplements students must contribute. The rich can buy more resources, but not another goal.
Of course, many of these phenomena and their apparent conflicts can be understood as a direct consequence of commodification. This is certainly fundamental, but what form does this take exactly? Stacking high and selling cheap only accounts for part of these developments. It doesn’t explain their ideological function, which draws on certain emancipatory claims. The liberation of ‘choice’ and ‘opportunity’ is usually the carrot; the stick is the threat of deserved poverty, whether of the individual or the nation. It is all too clear that education has become a way for rich nations to manage class conflicts, either through keeping people off the unemployment register, or through seducing their populations into the idea that they can all be middle class, with proletarianisation becoming an attribute of newly industrialised nations like China or India, or immigrant work forces. Within this ideology, failure is educational failure. The idea that contemporary education is characterised by the move away from authoritarian forms of indoctrination and towards forms of self-directed or autonomous learning is perhaps the most powerful emancipatory ideology in this context. ‘Life long learning’ is exemplary. The phrase oscillates between the dream of fulfilling self-transformation beyond the privileges of youth, and the nightmare of indiscriminate de-skilling and re-skilling according to the dictates of a ‘flexible’ labour market. It modifies the ideology of meritocracy, which is perhaps the core educational ideology through which the contradictions of capitalism and democracy are recoded as the successes and (more usually) ‘failures’ of disciplined individualism: ‘life long learning’ extends ‘meritocracy’ to the whole of your life. Qualification is a receding horizon; its promise of maturity takes the form of infantalisation.
While in Rethinking Domination and Resistance: Challenging Postmodernism (pdf) Schultz writes:
I explore the possibility that postmodern fascination with the pastoral may divert attention from the blunt discipline generally experienced by those at the bottom rungs of society. I look to different examples that indicate how these different forms of oppression tend (or fail) to incite different forms of resistance. I then explore a range of efforts by scholars and activists to develop more effective resistance strategies.
I like anything that rubs the educational nose into fordist and post-fordist tangents, but primarily due to my opposition to the institutionalization of lived experience and the necessity for autonomous spaces. But I realize that I get a bit reductionist in that approach; mainly because it is still often a novel thought for peeps. I would like to see if I can figure out how to get Schultz paper into my course that starts in 2 weeks.