Barry Wellman

Video recorded at the American Sociological Association Meeting in Denver, Colorado on Sunday, August 19th,  2:30pm – 4:10pm.

You can also listen to the audio here.

The slides from Keith Hampton’s talk are included below: more...

The following is a  review of Lee Rainie and Barry Wellman’s new book Networked: The New Social Operating System (MIT Press).

Broad Summary
Rainie and Wellman, using scores of data, argue that we live in a networked operating system characterized by networked individualism. They describe the triple revolution (networked revolution, internet revolution, and mobile revolution) that got us here, and discuss the repercussions of this triple revolution within various arenas of social life (e.g. the family, relationships, work, information spread). They conclude with an empirically informed guess at the future of the new social operating system of networked individualism, indulging augmented fantasies and dystopic potentials. Importantly, much of the book is set up as a larger argument against technologically deterministic claims about the deleterious effects of new information communication technologies (ICTs).

On September 18th, 2011, Barry Wellman, the early and rather prescient scholar of the Internet, posed a somewhat tongue-in-cheek question to the Communication and Information Technology Section of the American Sociology Association (CITASA): “‘Critical’ – aren’t we all?”  This post was precipitated by a call for papers for special issue of tripleC entitled Marx is Back: The Importance of Marxist Theory and Research for Critical Communication Studies Today (no affiliation with the author).  Specifically, the call invited papers that address (my emphasis):

what it means to ask Marx’s questions in 21st century informational capitalism, how Marxian theory can be used for critically analyzing and transforming media and communication today, and what the implications of the revival of the interest in Marx are for the field of Media and Communication Studies.

Shortly after it was sent, Wellman responded to the call, saying:

Not meant personally, but the use of the word “critical” by a subset of scholars always bothers me as leading to unconscious smugness? If I’m “critical”, your lot isn’t? Who, except flacks and twerps, isn’t critical? Can we criticize the criticalists?

This sparked a debate over the utility and appropriateness of the phrase “critical theory.”  Critics of the phrase raise the following objections: more...

In a post titled “Why Journals are the Dinosaurs of Academia,” I recently considered whether traditional journals may, increasingly, be serving to hinder the communication of ideas, rather than optimally facilitating such exchanges.  I argued two main points:  1.)  We need to get beyond the notion that the mere fact that journals is printed makes it somehow more legitimate than digital-only journals.  2.) In the age of the Internet, conventional articles may no longer be the most efficient way to communicate some ideas (which was the original justification for making journals the centerpiece of disciplinary discourses).

Over the past few days, Twitter has been abuzz with academics discussing another, related issue: Whether disciplinary discourses are better facilitated by non-profit, open-access journals or proprietary, pay-walled journals.  I have archived that discussion below and will follow up with my own thoughts later in the week. more...