Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Tiptree's distributed being in media ecologies....

What happens when Tiptree is revealed? What does this mean for Alice, and what does it mean for SF Feminisms? 


What is distributed being here? 


"Analytically, it is extremely useful to think of human beings as locations in space-time. We are relatively localized for many bodily functions and for some kinds of tasks we are highly distributed--remembering for example. So much of our memory is in other people, libraries, and our homes. But we are used to rather carelessly localizing what we mean by a person as bounded by one's skin.... The skin may be a boundary, but it can also be seen as a borderland, a living entity, and as part of the system of person-environment.... Parts of our selves extend beyond the skin in every imaginable way, convenient as it is to bound ourselves that way in conversational shorthand. Our memories are in families and libraries as well as inside our skins; our perceptions are extended and fragmented by technologies of every sort."

We "distribute our being" among various media, participating in overlapping ecologies.

What are some of these forms of participation? some are friendship centered, some are centered around common interests, some burrow into the satisfactions of accumulating expertise.

In this MacArthur funded set of studies on learning with digital media, these are called "genres of participation":

= "hanging out" supports "shared practices that grow out of friendships in given local social worlds." (Ito 16)

= "messing around" as an interest driven set of activities, creates and supports "specialized activities, interests, or niche and marginalized identities" ... "geeks, freaks, musicians, artists, and dorks" ....  "who might not be represented in their local communities" .... (Ito 16)

= "geeking out" may require "more far flung networks of affiliation and expertise." (Ito 16)

"more friendship-driven modes of 'hanging out' with friends while gaming can transition to more interest-driven genres of what we call recreational gaming. Similarly... the more friendship-driven practices of creating profiles on social network sites or taking photos with friends can lead to 'messing around' in the more interest-driven modes of digital media production." (Ito 17)

"a genre of participation of 'messing around' with new media ...can in some cases mediate between genres of 'geeking out' and 'hanging out.'" (Ito 17)

"When we consider learning as an act of social participation, our analytic focus shifts from the individual to the broader social and cultural ecology that a person inhabits." (Ito 18)


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