Archive for April, 2010

four stages in the development of cultural narratives

April 13, 2010 Leave a comment

From X Dell’s “The Grounded Walrus: A Socially Dramatic Epilogue”:

As one of my professors used to tell me, the main difference between psychology and sociology is that the former is retail, the latter wholesale. The stories that societies tell about themselves often reveal the same things as personal stories, but on a mass scale.

Cultural anthropologist Victor Turner coined the term ‘social drama’ to describe the collection of cultural symbols, often propagated through mass media, which expresses who we are as a people. As Fred Fogo put it, social drama describes “…a transcultural phenomenon by which cultures reveal their fundamental tensions, their meaning systems, and their relations to power.”

Social drama theory describes cultural narratives within four stages of their development. The first is the ‘breech’ stage, where something so anomalous has occurred that we’re forced to take notice of it. The second stage, ‘crisis,’ happens when the story, and the import of its meaning, expands to more segments of society. It is here where the conflict over the interpretation of facts and the symbols begins. ‘Redress,’ the third stage, describes the practical means by which we act or react to the anomaly, according to how we interpret it. The last stage, ‘reintegration,’ is the resolution of the crises brought on by the anomalous event and the conflicting meaning it has to various parties. On occasion, reintegration entails the complete acceptance of one view by either a vast majority of the people or through a virtual consensus. Sometimes it involves a compromise between one or more opposing viewpoints. Most times, however, all sides simply acknowledge their disagreement, and propagate their cause, each hoping that someday their efforts will propel their beliefs into the mainstream.


…the facts are usually not in dispute. The dispute lay in what they mean.

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public service announcement – ccru

April 12, 2010 Leave a comment

CCRU’s website appears to be down.

“Lemurian Time War” can be found here via the Wayback Machine

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April 1, 2010 Leave a comment

from Wikipedia: Informavore:

The term informavore characterizes an organism that consumes information. It is meant to be a description of human behavior in modern information society, in comparison to omnivore, as a description of humans consuming food. George A. Miller coined the term in 1983 as an analogy to how organisms survive by consuming negative entropy (as suggested by Erwin Schrödinger). Miller states, “Just as the body survives by ingesting negative entropy, so the mind survives by ingesting information. In a very general sense, all higher organisms are informavores.”

from The Age of the Informavore: A Talk With Frank Schirrmacher:

As we know, information is fed by attention, so we have not enough attention, not enough food for all this information. And, as we know — this is the old Darwinian thought, the moment when Darwin started reading Malthus — when you have a conflict between a population explosion and not enough food, then Darwinian selection starts. And Darwinian systems start to change situations. And so what interests me is that we are, because we have the Internet, now entering a phase where Darwinian structures, where Darwinian dynamics, Darwinian selection, apparently attacks ideas themselves: what to remember, what not to remember, which idea is stronger, which idea is weaker.

Gerd Gigerenzer, to whom I talked and who I find a fascinating thinker, put it in such a way that thinking itself somehow leaves the brain and uses a platform outside of the human body. And that’s the Internet and it’s the cloud. And very soon we will have the brain in the cloud. And this raises the question of the importance of thoughts. For centuries, what was important for me was decided in my brain. But now, apparently, it will be decided somewhere else.

The European point of view, with our history of thought, and all our idealistic tendencies, is that now you can see — because they didn’t know that the Internet would be coming, in the fifties or sixties or seventies — that the whole idea of the Internet somehow was built in the brains, years and decades before it actually was there, in all the different sciences. And when you see how the computer — Gigerenzer wrote a great essay about that — how the computer at first was somehow isolated, it was in the military, in big laboratories, and so on. And then the moment the computer, in the seventies and then of course in the eighties, was spread around, and every doctor, every household had a computer, suddenly the metaphors that were built in the fifties, sixties, seventies, then had their triumph. And so people had to use the computer. As they say, the computer is the last metaphor for the human brain; we don’t need any more. It succeeded because the tool shaped the thought when it was there, but all the thinking, like in brain sciences and all the others, had already happened, in the sixties, seventies, fifties even.

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