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Spoken Culture, Web Culture, Written Culture: Books Beyond Their Niche

Page history last edited by Michael Bhaskar 15 years, 3 months ago

Sorry if that sounds like a bit of a pretentious title. 


Anyway recently I have been giving some thought to the question of how books fit in to a media landscape that increasingly is shifting away from books. A parallel shift happened when culture shifted from being oral to written. Looking at some of the tensions between orality and literacy I think we can begin to see how we are now moving back towards an oral culture (and have been doing so for many years). Moreover I think that text itself is taking on the characteristics of oral culture on the internet. The cliche is about the conversation- but there is a grain of truth in the idea that the internet has enabled forms of communication that are neither a spoken conversation, nor an exchange of an old fashioned literary sort.


Is this a good thing?

How can books take on these characteristics and would we want them to?

What effect does this have on aesthetics, knowledge, narrative?

What changes does it mean for the book as an object?

What can we learn from older shifts like the one from spoken to written?


Not quite sure where to take this, but am gathering some (hopefully interesting) material together, and trying to keep it all vaguely relevant...

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