Bruns's Blogs, Wikipedia, Second Life, and Beyond is a solid argument about how the Internet is changing the way we produce content. Bruns explains thBruns's Blogs, Wikipedia, Second Life, and Beyond is a solid argument about how the Internet is changing the way we produce content. Bruns explains that content creation online "operate[s:] along lines which are fluid, flexible, heterarchical, and organized ad hoc as required by the ongoing process of development" (1). He argues that the term "production" is outmoded for much online content creation because it implies a final product, instead of an ongoing process of creation. He proposes that we understand content creation online as produsage to highlight how the roles of consumer and user are disappearing, replaced by a system where "the distinction between producers and users of content have faded into comparative insignificance" (2). This change in creation processes is made possible by develops of the Internet as a media. Bruns specifically points to differences between the Internet and previous mass media: an increased access to the means of production and distribution, the ease of peer-to-peer communication, and the ability to share, manipulate, modify, and edit content (13-14).
Bruns outlines four principles of produsage that signify when it works best: 1) open participation and communal evaluation; 2) a fluid heterarchy that leads to an ad hoc meritocracy; 3) creation of unfinished artifacts through granular changes; and 4) the development of communal property that results in individual rewards (particularly social capital) (24-30).
After extended discussions of open software creation, citizen journalism on blogs, and wikipedia, Bruns turns to how "we [. . .:] identify, collate, process, evaluate, combine, and synthesize the diverse range of content now available to us from a variety of sources" (171). Bruns explores metadata — data collected about usage, information, and behavior, often through automation, or through links and tags (174, 178-179). The book is a rather extensive and detailed discussion of various aspects of online produsage. Worth a read (or a skim, at the very least — the book seems to get repetitive at points, but offers some useful insights).
A few quotes on new media and developing relationships: "The social, collaborative basis of the content creation communities engaged in produsage also indicates this: in produsage projects, the object of the communal effort is almost always as much the development of social structures to support and sustain the shared project as it is the development of that project itself" (23). "content creation is an act of maintenance and construction (of both content and the social relationships among participants) at least as much as it is one of production" (23).
Bruns, Axel. Blogs, Wikipedia, Second Life, and Beyond: From Production to Produsage. New York: Peter Lang 2008. ...more
1977 is an excellent history of the composition program at Penn State, which they argue is a justified history to tell because too often histories of1977 is an excellent history of the composition program at Penn State, which they argue is a justified history to tell because too often histories of composition are more national and told in grand narratives. In a way, the history of Penn State's composition program in the 1970s "mirror[s:] (and complicate[s:])" the national debate in composition studies (86).
Henze, Selzer, and Sharer begin by providing cultural and social context for their history (Chapter 2), and then proceed through the book to narrow their focus. Chapter 3 offers a the context of English Studies in 1977, and Chapter 4 overviews the national conversation about composition studies in the mid-to-late 1970s. These two narratives are pretty familiar to most in composition studies, and Henze, Selzer, and Sharer move through it quickly before focusing on Penn State. One nice aspect of these two chapters is the sidebars, in which prominent composition scholars from other programs provide their own views of the state of the field in the 1970s.
Chapter 5 examines closing the changing face and the new problems of Penn State's English department in the 1970s: budgetary woes, a changing student body (more nontraditional students), declining number of English majors, and of course, critiques of the two composition courses (English 1 and 3). Henze, Selzer, and Sharer outline how the courses often did not have a shared design and were critiqued for not preparing students for college writing.
Chapter 6 is a discussion of how the English department attended to these problems. Professors Wilma Ebbitt and Douglas Park were instrumental in bringing about certain changes: a shift from English 3 as a literary course, changes from a more current-traditional paradigm to a process-oriented paradigm, a move toward exposition and argument and away from expressivism, the development of a committee for freshman composition, and a new teacher orientation....more
While the first volume was awesome, this one just gets better (though there are some sub-plots that felt too gimmicky). The art gets better, the bioteWhile the first volume was awesome, this one just gets better (though there are some sub-plots that felt too gimmicky). The art gets better, the biotechnologies get more interesting, we learn more about Jerusalem's past, and it's an exciting, engaging read....more
A wonderful start to a series. Transmetropolitan is the story of Spider Jerusalem, a journalist in a future full of biotechnical and biochemical advanA wonderful start to a series. Transmetropolitan is the story of Spider Jerusalem, a journalist in a future full of biotechnical and biochemical advancements and modifications in the human body and psyche. Living in a fucked up city, full of corruption, human body modifications (including trans-species genetic modifications), and hyper-mediated communication, Jerusalem's investigative reporting is unorthodox and leads to some intriguing narratives. I found the introduction interesting not only for the narrative, but also how the comic seems to raise serious questions that plague us now: government corruption, media ethics, the line between human and animal/object/technology/nature. Plus, the technology in the story is pretty rad....more
In The Philosophy of Punk, Craig O'Hara draws from numerous punk bands and writings by punks to outline a general philosophy of punk aesthetic, ethicsIn The Philosophy of Punk, Craig O'Hara draws from numerous punk bands and writings by punks to outline a general philosophy of punk aesthetic, ethics, and activism. He is clear to articulate that he is discussing a certain "brand" (my word) of punk rock: not generic, more consumption-oriented punk, but rather the more "authentic" punk of the late 70s and early 80s. This punk, he argues, was importantly about "tak[ing:] on responsibility" (39). While punk music involves rage, anti-authority views, and anti-conformity (27-28), O'Hara argues that punk ethics was (and is) one of responsibility.
He blames mass media for misrepresenting (and misrecognizing) punk as violent, negative, and a trend, as well as too simply equating punks with skinheads. Instead, O'Hara urges that in order to understand punk, one must go to the "primary sources" (61). I fully agree with his reading of media representation, and in the scope of his book, it makes sense, but this could have more analytical force if he didn't rely on the idea that there is somehow a way to accurately represent oneself.
O'Hara's discussion takes force as he describes punk's anarchist ethics—and how this is related to responsibility. Anarchy isn't a matter of checking out because "personal anarchy is elitist, unanarchistic, and counter revolutionary" (87). Those who ascribe to personal anarchy, but have "resign[ed:] himself to the fact that other people are not capable of ruling themselves" might still be participating and spreading ideas, but have given up on the ideals of anarchy (87). To O'Hara, anarchy is admitting responsibility: not simply "no laws," but "no need for laws" (97).
O'Hara's last few chapters deal with sexism, homophobia, environmentalism, vegetarianism, and Straight-Edge, and are pretty good discussions, though quickly sped through. For the purpose of the book, though, I thought they were developed enough—though I think the book was a bit too celebratory of anti-sexism and the inclusion of women in the punk movement, if only because a lot of punk can be masculinist and not very inviting to women. O'Hara is claiming to discuss a specific group of punks ("authentic" punks), but at times, seems to idealize them. Perhaps this is because he is trying to outline a philosophy (instead of, say, an anthropology/sociology/rhetoric) and is trying to discuss the ideals and beliefs of punks....more
Pretty interesting. I was worried that the book was going to be misogynist, but it turned out to be an interesting avenue into anxiety about gender roPretty interesting. I was worried that the book was going to be misogynist, but it turned out to be an interesting avenue into anxiety about gender roles. The protagonist is a bit bland: your typical "I can't understand women" kind of guy. But the plot's interesting and intriguing, and left me wondering what was going on and what was going to happen. Not a spectacular comic by any means, but certainly enjoyable and compelling....more
I first read parts of this book for my master's thesis three years ago, and I was wanting to return to it and read the whole thing for a while. This bI first read parts of this book for my master's thesis three years ago, and I was wanting to return to it and read the whole thing for a while. This book thoroughly discusses various aspects of zines and zine culture, including the sincere nature of zines, the anti-authority, and the independent, anti-corporate attitude of many zines. Duncombe is himself a zinester, and so is quite knowledge. He avoids being too academic, while drawing on academic discussions and theory in accessible, interesting ways. I appreciate his own investment in zines as well: he has a stake, and he's quite explicit about his own viewpoints in aspects of zine culture (for instance, his argument that the self ghetto-ization of anti-conformists can lead to de-politization and that zinesters need to be actively engaged with others and not just "write to the choir"). Very comprehensive and engaging read....more