[Air-l] re: road warriors, study of
reymerke at morrisville.edu
Fri May 31 05:53:40 PDT 2002
I agree with the confusion regarding anomie and the e-road writings; I would
see Mumford or Ellul more problematic when considering community effects of
technically distributed communication.
After thinking about the idea of road warriors, I find a class perspective
might be helpful in engaging in a study of "road warriors." As Barry has
described them, they are the "travel elite," provided with special lounges,
equipment, entertainment and other resources to make the road more amenable
and to keep a 'lifeline' to the locus of big business, the main office.
These are the latter-day bourgeoisie making their business travel purposeful
through the means of electronic communication and vice-versa - making their
laptops, pda's, etc. purposeful through business travel.
Contrast these road warriors with other occupations that necessitate travel
- the musician and her roadies, the nearly-extinct traditional traveling
salesman (the Willie Loman archetype), the professor traveling to
conferences. None are as glamorous or as benefitted by the niceties
available to the road warrior. Look too at the very name: "road warrior"
connotes strength, courage, bravery in the face of the grueling opposition
(the harsh realities of the road). Yet the executive lounge is more like a
spa than a foxhole. As a once-traveling musician myself, I can speak
empirically of foxholes on the road. I found that keeping a journal was
helpful in overcoming such difficulties; I would certainly have welcomed an
internet connection, not to mention an executive lounge (quite different
than the 'lounges' a musician on the road might frequent).
Perhaps an interesting study could be done comparing and contrasting road
warriors by their occupation, to differentiate if, how and why these various
classes are tied back to their community by the umbilical cord of the
writing from the road,
> Date: Tue, 28 May 2002 12:16:21 -0400
> From: Barry Wellman <wellman at chass.utoronto.ca>
> To: aoir list <air-l at aoir.org>, Wendy Robinson <wgrobin at duke.edu>
> Subject: [Air-l] road-warriors, study of
> Reply-To: air-l at aoir.org
> Wendy Robinson writes;
> "As is so often the case, e-roads and railroads typically lead back to the
> anomie and distributed communication enabled by the telegraph. Many of
> "road warrior" issues have been theoretically considered within cultural
> studies by those influenced by Innis, McLuhan, Beniger and Carey for many
> years. Nothing new in that for most on this list."
> 1. I don't understand the anomie reference to e-roads, RRs and
> telegraphs. I know the e-road data pretty well, and it shows no effect or
> positive effect on sentiments and behaviors of community. (Time for
> plug for our Nov 2002 issue of American Behavioral Scientist, and
> Wellman-Haythornthwaite's forthcoming _Internet in Everyday Life_).
> 2. As to "Innis, McLuhan, Beniger and Carey. Nothing new for most on
> this list".
> BW: I knew McLuhan, know Carey, and Beniger slightly and work often in
> a building named for Harold Innis. These are all smart guys and deep
> theorist. But except possibly for Beninger, none did a systematic study
> of long-distance communication and community at the interpersonal level.
> Innis, to be sure, wrote the wonderful Empire and COmmunication, etc.,
> but as the title implies, that was not a detailed, deeply-textured look at
> community or work relations. Surely, we don't think that deep theorizing
> enough without systematic evidence to back it up and, more likely, develop
> and extend it.
> I have received one pointer to a study of road warriors. I am leaving on
> the road myself in 10 minutes; will check it out when I get a chance.
> Cheers, Barry
> Barry Wellman Professor of Sociology NetLab Director
> wellman at chass.utoronto.ca http://www.chass.utoronto.ca/~wellman
> Centre for Urban & Community Studies University of Toronto
> 455 Spadina Avenue Toronto Canada M5S 2G8 fax:+1-416-978-7162
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