(The audio file is available here)
Recorded Sunday, August 19th (4:30pm – 6:10pm) at the American Sociology Association in Denver, Colorado.
Thematic session co-sponsored with Section on Communication and Information Technologies)
Organized by Aneesh Aneesh (University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee) and Ronald E. Anderson (University of Minnesota)
Panelists: Saskia Sassen (Columbia University), Fred Turner (Stanford University), Barry Wellman (University of Toronto), Ronald E. Anderson (University of Minnesota)
Modes of collective existence have multiplied over the years. In addition to physical togetherness, social life increasingly consists of virtual interactions. This session focuses on three specific modes of virtual interaction: community (e.g., Facebook), fantasy (e.g., Second Life), and exposé (e.g., Wikileaks), all mediated by distributed networks of information and communication technologies. These virtual networks have both utopian and dystopian elements. This panel session explores the theme of virtual utopias and dystopias in the transformation of existing institutions. The session will be organized in a question-response format beginning with brief statements by participants on the theme. Panelists will be asked to address such questions as: What has been learned from attempts to build virtual utopias? What virtual communities have sought utopian themes like equality, peace, social cohesion, ethics and compassion, and with what result? How do we assess virtual dystopias and their relationship with social change? How can we envision the future so that virtual utopias flourish with beneficial effects on non-virtual institutions?
Also, here is a copy of Fred Turner’s slides: