Liveblogging from Livingstone keynote at DML

I never do this, but here I am liveblogging from the concluding keynote at MacArthur’s Digital Media and Learning conference, one which heralds the arrival of “our field,” as Eszter Hargittai put it during last night’s keynote panel.  Generally I am finding this conference really really good.  One of the reasons is the evocativeness of the work here.  Even when it’s not pushing out paradigms that I want to use, it’s giving terms to react against or through from different contexts, such as education.

One of the educators’ panels asked us to come up with a definition of “digital citizenship.”  This was a lot more productive a paradigm than the “digital natives” discourse I’ve been seeing that takes off from John Palfrey’s popular recent book.  Digital native implies a special, exceptionally enabled sort of person, independent of race, class, or other factors–but as Livingstone’s ethnographies show, there is actually quite a low level of skill in young people’s use of the Internet, something that Siva Vaidhyanathan and Hargittai have noted.

Digital citizenship implies instead rights, soverignty, and a sometimes vexed relationship to affordances which works better to my mind.  The rights to free movement (across platforms, standards, virtual worlds), the rights to speak your own language, the rights to access–these are less utopian ideas than “digital natives,” who seemingly need nothing and “naturally” know how to do everything.

I am almost out of batts!  more later.

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3 Responses
  1. Zelda says:

    I agree that ‘digital citizenship’ is an infinitely preferable term to ‘digital native’. Not only for the important reasons enumerated, but also because it’s part of the responsibility of citizenship to seek change in accordance with whatever principles establish that citizenship. In other words, it’s a way of making sure the debate returns constantly to matters of principle, and that certain kinds of questions get asked: Is this working the way that we want it to? Who is ‘we’? Who actually has power here, and who should have it? How do we get from here to there?

    Citizenship. . . is conditional.

  2. Zinc says:

    Hey Lisa, Patrik S. has mentioned your opposition to “Digital Humanities.” Would love to see your informal thoughts on DH and its alternatives.

  3. Lisa nakamura says:

    This is the latest reply ever, but here goes. Digital humanities and new media/internet studies don’t converge and I wish that they did. So I wouldn’t say that I’m opposed to Digital Humanities, but I am opposed to unreflective tool usage to make texts and images more empirical; this is just an exercise in computing power that doesn’t seem to accomplish a whole lot except to sell even more powerful computers to humanists and encourage them to use them without really changing their objects of study. The best course is for there to be lots of collaboration between new/digital media studies and digital humanities studies. I hate to see more lines being drawn to exclude certain kinds of work–the pie is already small enough as it is, especially with academic budgets shrinking.

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