802 Paper Three

802 Paper Three - English 802Analytical Reading and Writing...

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English 802—Analytical Reading and Writing Professor Benzon Paper Three Topic: Technological Change, Progress, Decline? In this paper, we will explore the larger implications of digital technology for American culture in dialogue with Jaron Lanier’s argument in You Are Not a Gadget . Lanier’s book is, as its subtitle suggests, “a manifesto”—a critique of certain social and cultural conditions and a call for change. Lanier develops a particular argument about the ways in which digital technology is transforming elements of our culture— notably personhood, social relations and communications, economics, and creativity, among others—for the worse, and proposes alternate ways in which we might use that technology for the better. I included this book at the end of our course because I think it demonstrates one strong effort to present a sustained analytical argument, not because I necessarily think that his argument is correct. The possibility that Lanier has not convinced you, or that he leaves out important counter-examples that might undermine his main claim, or that he did not go far enough in pushing his argument where you might like to see it go, leaves room for more research-based writing on your part in this assignment. Your task in this paper is to develop an analytical argument about cultural progress or decline in relation to a specific area of digital technology based on a clear standard of progress or decline. While your argument must engage Lanier in some way, you certainly do not have to agree with him. As you think about your topic and your argument, you should keep in mind that standards of progress and decline are never self-evident or given—remember the beginning of the course, where we said that there’s no “just because” in analyzing media and culture. For example, just citing a rise in the free availability of music,
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This note was uploaded on 04/19/2011 for the course ENGLISH 802 taught by Professor Frankfucile during the Spring '11 term at Temple.

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802 Paper Three - English 802Analytical Reading and Writing...

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