Internet and Ideology Part 3 – Society

Following on the political and economic changes of modernity, the emergence of social mobility was also a new development based partly on individual’s new found power of self-determination.

Modernity represented:

“a move away from traditional society marked by an unchanging hierarchy … modernity involved a search for new identities to replace the traditional and religiously sanctioned ones of the previous epoch. Moreover it was made clear that these new identities were the creation of human action and agency, rather than god given and unalterable.

What this means is: people living in the modern period became individuals for the first time. The ideology of modernity helped people define their own personality and shape their own lives through their actions.

However this social emancipation was still only available within the confines of the relatively structured society at the time. Likewise it was also limited by cultural norms and shared values.

There was a long way to go until people had real personal liberty but then the process of enlightenment was just that: a process. Things didn’t change overnight but from modernity onwards individuals shaped by own actions.

Contrast this with the Internet Age – a period of relatively early post-modernity. People have (mostly) had self-determination and the concept of being limited in terms of what we want to do – socially at least – is something alien to us – or at least a lot of us.

Looking forward and extending the idea of a post-modern ideology offering individuals something more than just the opportunity to shape their own lives, the internet offers us the possibility to not only define but invent, create, design, shape, live, change, co-create a range of identities and lives.

One rather basic example of this the ability of someone to take on an alter-ego in Second Life. But the same notion applies when we think about the different personalities we all probably have. My persona on ebay is probably different from this blog; likewise my blog is probably different from my Twitter profile which in turn is probably different from my Facebook profile.

This is Modernity’s idea of a self-determined individual exploded arcoss a range of platforms and positions not bounded by geography – or indeed physical space of any kind. David Weinberger has a great illustration of what this means practically and philosophically in Small Pieces Loosely Joined.

But bear in mind that this is just me with a predominantly Modern conept of myself as a single entity simply being expanded across the internet retrospectively.

Think of what this all means to the generation below me (and the rest) who have grown up in an internet age. The type of people who cannot remember a time BG – Before Google.

Technorati tags: ideology, post-modernism, modernity, John Schwarzmantel, society 

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