In this hypertextual essay, I offer some brief definitions and descriptions of electronic textual formations and argue that the proclivities of electronic texts -- at least to the extent that we can determine what they are -- manifest themselves only as fully as human beings and their institutions allow, that they are in fact sites of struggle among competing interests and ideological forces. Or, to put the matter another way, social, political, and economic elites try to shape the technologies we have so as to preserve, insofar as possible, their own social, political, and economic status. They try to suppress or seek to control those elements of electronic technologies uncongenial to that purpose. The degree to which they are successful in controlling the development and use of electronic texts will define the nature and the problems of literacy in the future.
This page is part of the article, "E-literacies: Politexts, Hypertexts and Other Cultural Formations in the Late Age of Print."