Does the Internet ‘absorb’ human subjectivity and sociality? The limitations of two current dynamic process models to answer this question
At World Wide Web 2012, France.
16 - 20 Apr 2012.
Some recent social theories have argued that human activities are immersed in 'flows' rather than social structures as traditionally conceived. Flows may both facilitate social order in complex globalised life or threaten it. The Internet and its associated technologies have been seen as (1) part of the mechanism that produces flow characteristics in communication processes, and (2) a threat to human subjectivity and sociality when viewed as a mechanism of flow. This paper reviews the social theoretical background of agency frameworks that have contributed to work on 'socionics' and 'social robotics'. Between the original formulations of an agenda to interconnect the sociology of human agency with the Internet and recent imaginative empirical research designs examining the connection of human bodies with machines, it is argued that our conceptual frameworks of agency have not succeeded in openning up the 'hot zone' where human-body-ICT interaction can be understood to flow, or experience 'absorption'. Instead, the hot zone reproduces traditional views of agency that pose a boundary between embodied and reflective actions.
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