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Changing Media – Selfhood – Privacy / Copyright: Changing Democracy and Equality? (a contribution to the Onlife Project) Dr. Charles Ess.

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Presentation on theme: "Changing Media – Selfhood – Privacy / Copyright: Changing Democracy and Equality? (a contribution to the Onlife Project) Dr. Charles Ess."— Presentation transcript:

1 Changing Media – Selfhood – Privacy / Copyright: Changing Democracy and Equality? (a contribution to the Onlife Project) Dr. Charles Ess

2 1. (changing) selves A. Possibilities of Selfhood and Identity: relational and individual emphases B. Historical examples – and political correlates 2. The (re)emergence of the relational self in Western societies A. Philosophical developments: from phenomenology to Floridi B. Media and Communication Studies C. Changing practices in privacy (copyright) // the relational (emotive) self 3. Specific challenges: the fate of democracy and equality? 4. Implications and policy recommendations A.Complications for privacy: B. Literacies

3 1. (changing) selves A. Possibilities of Selfhood and Identity: relational and individual emphases Relational ….. individual You are your relationships – familial, communal … (super) natural (e.g., Who are you? (Luria) Autonomous and self-sustaining: Independent of relationships – relationships are chosen (e.g., Charles Taylors radically disengaged rational agent, for whom connections are determined purely instrumentally, by what will bring the best results, pleasure, or happiness. (Taylor, 1989, 170f.) Individual privacy as positive good Individual privacy as negative familial privacy

4 Relational ….. individual Indigenous traditions – North America, Africa, Australia … see: Lurias interviews with pre-literate peasants in Walter Ong (1988) still (?) primary sense of self in Confucian traditions – China, Korea … Buddhist traditions – India, China, Thailand, Japan. correlates with hierarchical social structures non-democratic power structures Emergence of (Socratic-Stoic) virtue of care for the self (Foucault 1988) auto-nomos (autonomy) - rational being capable of self-rule (Kant, Locke) free from established custom and locally dominant authority. (Taylor, 1989, 167) justifies / requires the modern liberal-democratic state (Locke / Jefferson / Rousseau... ) + equality norm 1. (changing) selves B. Historical examples – and political correlates

5 2. The (re)emergence of the relational self in Western societies A.Philosophical developments: ecological philosophy; phenomenology; critical theory: we emerge from the web of interpersonal relations in which [our] identities are formed and maintained (McCarty 1978: 47) feminism and ethics of care: womens ethical decision-making within the contexts of webs of relationships (C. Gilligan, 1982) emerging notions of relational autonomy (C. Mackenzie 2008) L. Floridi: interconnection and the rise of distributed responsibility and distributed morality (2012)

6 2. The (re)emergence of the relational self in Western societies B. Media and Communication Studies i. Medium Theory: the shift from literacy-print to the secondary orality- textuality of electric media ubiquitous networked computer-mediated communication

7 2. The (re)emergence of the relational self in Western societies B. Media and Communication Studies ii. From the networked individual (Wellman & Haythornthwaite 2002) to relational self (K. Gergen 2001, 2011) and Goffmans performative self to smeared-out self … 7 … FB status / update SMS Phone call (?) Chat YouTube upload Twitter / tweets Beam_Collision_Events_at_RHIC_at_100_100_GeV_c_per_beam_recorded_by_STAR.jpg/400px-First_Gold_Beam- Beam_Collision_Events_at_RHIC_at_100_100_GeV_c_per_beam_recorded_by_STAR.jpg

8 2. The (re)emergence of the relational self in Western societies C. Changing practices in privacy, copyright // the relational (emotive) self Individual privacy group privacy public publicly private privately public relatively unknown friends - but still highly private / personal information re. identities, sexual orientation, but not, e.g., home address close friends, relatives - videos on YouTube hidden by tagging them so that only friends and relatives would know how to find them (Patricia Lange (2007) in McKee & Porter 2009, 78) publicy

9 3. Specific challenges: the fate of democracy and equality? One possible indicator?: the question of equality in (democratizing) Confucian societies – e.g., China, Taiwan, Korea – as (a) analogues with (changing) Western democracies, and thereby (b) shapes of things to come for Western (Eastern) Democracy 3.0? 1. Analogues: traditional Confucian sense of selfhood / privacy: Relational self primacy of familial – not individual – privacy: analogous with current Western shifts towards a) Relational self and thus b) cf. partial privacy, publicly private-privately public conceptions of group privacies in Western third spaces as personal (neither individual nor purely public) spaces. 2.Patriarchal/hierarchical family as model for society: filial piety as first virtue hierarchical (if not simply authoritarian) political regime: community harmony (te) as primary goal – always overrides individual-familial interests in case of conflicts.

10 3. Specific challenges: the fate of democracy and equality? 3. Contemporary China, Taiwan: bi-cultural self A. Traditional, great self – relational self as shaped by primacy of community harmony: intrinsically hierarchical B.small self – Western-style individual self focusing on personal interests, desires, etc.: potentially egalitarian (Cf. Seken / shakei conceptions of selfhood in Japan: Nakada and Tamura 2005) C. In case of conflict between great self / small self – small self loses. Equality as incompatible with Confucian values (Mary Cockover 2010, 170; cited in Wong 2012, 168) Given the analogies between late modern Western democracies (relational selves + group privacy preferences) … As Western democracies shift from emancipatory politics (explicit commitment to equality) to life-politics – will they come to resemble Confucian democracies as well in terms of the absence of equality, including gender equality?

11 4. Implications and policy recommendations? A. Complications for privacy: Shift in conceptions of privacy as, e.g., originally grounded (U.S. context) in protection of private spaces (beginning with Amendments 4, 5, … forbidding unwarranted search and seizure – see Cohen 2012) emphasis on individual privacy (exception: Norwegian Ethical Guidelines for Research, from 2002 forward, that include attention to privacy protection for both a given individual and close relations to privacy as fractal (Gal 2002) relational, contextual, negotiated (Nissenbaum 2010) …??? B. Literacies

12 4. Implications and policy recommendations? B. More balanced approach to literacy education both digital literacies relational (individual) self and literacies affiliated with literacy-print, including writing as a technology of the self, one oriented toward the virtue of care of self an autonomous (and relational) individual


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