The Background, the Body and the Internet: Locating Practical Understanding in Digital Culture


Authors
Michael Brownstein
John Jay College of Criminal Justice (CUNY)
Abstract
In recent years, Hubert Dreyfus has put forward a critique of the social and cultural effects of the Internet on modern societies based on the value of what he calls “the background” of largely tacit and unarticulated social norms. While Dreyfus is right to turn to the “background” in order to understand the effects of the Internet on society and culture, his unequivocally negative conclusions are unwarranted. I argue that a modified account of the background – one more attuned to what the French sociologist Pierre Bourdieu calls “social fields” – can lead to sounder and more illuminating conclusions.
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DOI techne20111514
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