Computer-Mediated Communication Magazine / Volume 2, Number 3 / March 1, 1995 / Page 6


Better Questions

by Nancy Kaplan

To understand more clearly what is at stake in the dispute between those who see largely beneficial effects devolving from new technologies and those who see largely deleterious effects resulting from those same technologies, we need to examine the technologies closely but we also need to ask how and why these technologies have become available, who is attempting to shape their forms and effects, and to what ends. Nor must we forget that print, too, is a technology, imbricated with ideology. By that I mean simply that all social-technological formations like print or computers provide what Kenneth Burke has called "terministic screens" and what others call an ideology: a definition of what exists; an account of what things are good, beautiful, and worthy of our attention; and a set of implications about what scope of human action is possible. In short, all technologies of writing offer ontologies, aesthetics, and politics: all three constitute sites for contesting meanings and control.

This page is part of the article, "E-literacies: Politexts, Hypertexts and Other Cultural Formations in the Late Age of Print."

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