New York Times columnist, Thomas Friedman declared the modern age in which we live as the ’age of distraction’ in 2006. The basis of his argument was that technology has changed the ways in which our minds function and our capacity to dedicate ourselves to any particular task. Others assert that our attention spans and ability to learn have been changed and that the use of media devices has become essential to many people’s daily lives and indeed the impulse to use technology is harder to resist than unwanted urges for eating, alcohol or sex.
This book seeks to portray the see-saw like relationship that we have with technology and how that relationship impacts upon our lived lives. Drawing on a range of theoretical perspectives that cross traditional subject boundaries we examine the ways in which we both react to and are, to an extent, shaped by the technologies we interact with and how we construct the relationships with others that we facilitate via the use of Information Communication Technologies (ICTs) be it as discreet online only relationships or the blending of ICTs enabled communication with real life co present interactions.
Table of Contents
Contents: Introduction - an introduction to digital media usage across the life course, Paul.G.Nixon, Rajash.Rawal and Andreas Funk; The internet through the ages, William H. Dutton and Bianca C. Reisdorf; Singularity: a double bind?, Rajash Rawal and Paul G. Nixon; Citizenship in the virtual public sphere - reasonableness as a modus vivendi for life online, Andreas Funk; Birth through the digital womb: visualizing prenatal life online, Yukari Seko and Katrin Tiidenberg; Digital by default: growing into your digital footprint, Vanessa P. Dennen; ‘That’s so unfair!’ Navigating the teenage online experience, Abby Philips; Living social: comparing social media use in your 20s and 30s, Natalie Pennington; Blurring boundaries: social media and boundary maintenance at midlife, Kelly Quinn; Retrospective narratives about life with anxiety: considering the role of the internet for sufferers, Catherine Brookes; Older adults and social media: foreshadowing challenges of the digital future?, Kelly Quinn; Googling grannies: how technology use can improve health and wealth in aging populations, Elizabeth Yost, Vicki Winstead, Ronald W. Berkowsky, and Shelia R. Cotton; Physical death in the digital age, Stine Gotved; On deathcasting: alone together on the edge of death, Yukari Seko; Index.
Paul G Nixon is Principal Lecturer and Head of Research in European Studies, Faculty of Management and Organisation, The Hague University of Applied Sciences, The Netherlands. He has contributed chapters to many edited collections on the use of ICTs particularly in the fields of political parties, electronic democracy and social welfare. He has co-edited five previous collections for Routledge Politics and the Internet in Comparative Context: Views from the Cloud (with Rajash Rawal and Dan Mercea), Understanding E Government in Europe: Issues and Challenges (with Vassiliki Koutrakou and Rajash Rawal 2010), E-Government in Europe (with Vassiliki Koutrakou 2007), Political Parties and the Internet (with Steve Ward and Rachel Gibson 2003) and Cyberprotest: New Media, Citizens and Social Movements (with Wim van der Donk, Brian Loader and Dieter Rucht, 2004). He has also published in the fields of culture and literature including editing a collection entitled Representations of Education in Literature (2000).
Rajash Rawal is a Principal Lecturer in Political Science at the Academy of European Studies and Communication Management, The Hague University of Applied Sciences, The Netherlands. He is a visiting lecturer at the Fachochschule, Eisenstadt, Austria and the Department of European Studies, Budapest Business School, Hungary. He has co-edited two previous collections for Routledge Politics and the Internet in Comparative Context: Views from the Cloud (with Paul G. Nixon and Dan Mercea) Understanding E Government in Europe: Issues and Challenges (with Vassiliki Koutrakou and Paul G. Nixon 2010). He specializes in the impact of media on political agents in the modern era and has written a number of papers around this theme.
Andreas Funk is Lecturer in European Studies, Faculty of Management and Organisation, The Hague University of Applied Sciences, The Netherlands.. His field of interests cover studies on social movements and their usage of social media platforms but also political philosophy, in particular problems in moral philosophy. He is currently undertaking research in ‘reasonable pluralism and virtue’.
This impressive collection shows us how digital media have become embedded in nearly every aspect of society, and how people engage with these technologies at different stages of life. These lively and interesting studies reveal how engagement with ICTs is shaping the way we live and die, give birth, establish social relationships, handle mental health issues, deal with aging, and conduct politics. This is a valuable sourcebook for the field.
Lance Bennett, University of Washington, Seattle, USA