[Air-l] new issue of JCMC - including theme issue on culture and communication

Charles Ess cmess at drury.edu
Sat Nov 5 06:00:18 PST 2005

Dear Air-ists,

JCMC's special thematic section on Culture and Computer-Mediated
Communication (edited by Fay Sudweeks and Charles Ess), is now available on
the JCMC website: http://jcmc.indiana.edu/

This issue was inspired by (and includes) several presentations made
originally at our biennial conference series on "Cultural Attitudes towards
Technology and Communication" (CATaC) in 2004, Karlstad, Sweden.

This issue brings together both:

successful uses of the frameworks developed by Edward T. Hall and Gert
Hofstede for analyzing cross-cultural communication online (primarily,
interestingly enough, advertising websites - and in this genre, these
frameworks "work" better for fast-food and universities [!!!] than for, say,
durable goods - see the first article by Marc Hermeking, Institut für
Interkulturelle Kommunikation, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universtaet, Munich)


critiques of Hall and Hofstede, coupled with proposed new models - including
one based on the work of W.E.B. Dubois - vis-à-vis critical applications and
empirical studies in Singapore, international online classes, and
"mainstream" vs. sites designed by and for African-Americans (Brock).

The explicitly ethical impetus behind this work is:
how do we develop forms of cross-cultural communication online that do _not_
colonize "the Other" by imposing Western cultural values and communicative
That is, despite our fond belief that these technologies are "just tools,"
i.e., somehow culturally and communicatively neutral, they demonstrably
embed and foster the values and preferences of their Western [indeed,
largely white male middle/upper-class] designers - thus threatening a form
of "computer-mediated colonization" as they are enthusiastically diffused
throughout the globe in the name of wiring an electronic global village,
ostensibly for the sake of democratization, freedom of expression, economic
prosperity, etc.
By contrast, if such computer-mediated colonization is to be avoided, we
need to become much more savvy about how to undertake cross-cultural
communication online in ways that acknowledge, respect, and foster the
cultural values and communicative preferences that define distinctive
cultural identities and persons.


Charles Ess

Distinguished Research Professor, Interdisciplinary Studies
Drury University
900 N. Benton Ave.              Voice: 417-873-7230
Springfield, MO  65802  USA       FAX: 417-873-7435
Home page:  http://www.drury.edu/ess/ess.html

Co-chair, CATaC'06: http://www.catacconference.org
Co-chair, ECAP'06: http://www.eu-cap.org

Professor II, Globalization and Applied Ethics Programmes
Norwegian University of Science and Technology
NO-7491 Trondheim, Norway

Exemplary persons seek harmony, not sameness. -- Analects 13.23

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