Historiography of Cyberculture – notes

Critical Cyberculture Studies

by Silver, David Massanari, Adrienne Jones, Steve



the historiography of cyberculture



Field is well established. Simple e-topian views are now critiqued. Studies more nuanced and complex

< really? There still seems to be enough e-topians. See epochal thinking Mozorov Click Everything.

BUT! Cyberculture studies is still using categories and narratives set down in the 80s and 90s. What the cul is and where it comes from is dominated by views of journalists and tech companies. The critical researcher should be open to other epsitemologies. Sound is a little used category for investigating cyb cul. Sound is used as an example of how to be open.


Some terms from Pierre Bourdieu:

Epistemologic break – Question assumptions about what the thing being researched is. Don’t just take what the culture says it is as a given.

Construct the object – Define your own research terms.

e.g. Epist Br – Cyb Cul includes sound design

Con the Ob – I will research this by looking at x, y, z I will define sound design as blah blah blah.


Why is sound ignored in cyb cul studies?:

Visual studies already established in humanities. Sound less so.

Do some sound artefacts not fit the accepted cyb cul narrative/historio? E.g. CDs good example of early adopted digital artefact. Yet no Cyb Cul Studies write about them.

Did sound tech not seem as “revolutionary” thus not merit scholarly attention?


VR – Sound design has been creating impossible virtual spaces since the advent of recording technology. Why is this not considered in histories of Cyb Cul?

Interfaces – Should we have familiar trad. Interfaces for new tech? Something that music tech has been grappling with for years e.g. theremin and early patchbay moog designs. BUT! History of cyb cul doesn’t engage with this. The field is too selective!

But then writing history is always making editorial choices.