Whose lifestream is it anyway? – Week 3 summary

This is a visual interpretation by Jen Maddox of one of my favourite songs from the amazing musical, Hamilton, by Lin-Manuel Miranda, and throughout this week I’ve kept going back to this song and its message about history. Or, maybe George Orwell was right when he wrote that “history is written by the winners”.

Cybercultures, or the history of the internet, is relatively recent history. Most of us have lived through it, and we may feel some sense of ownership over it. We might experience the kind of nostalgic determinism that The Buggles exhibit both in Video and in The Age of Plastic. My lifestream this week has been a reflection of my attempt to question this. I’ve been preoccupied by whose voices we hear. For example, I’ve questioned the ‘cultural sensitivity’ appreciated by care robots, and whether this is agitated by the fact that we’re approaching this from a strictly Western perspective. In my digital artefact, and influenced by Sterne’s project, I tried to expose one or two of the narrative nooks and crannies when we’re presented with new technology: commercialism, consumerism, the bottom line.

This is leading me to the conclusion that the socio-materialists have got it right: there’s a need to account for the affordances of technology as a complex assemblage, and it’s crucial to ensure that voices other than those of the Western, privileged classes aren’t black-boxed in these interpretations. This too should help us to keep sight of the culture of cybercultures, and the ways in which our chronicling of the history of the internet is influenced by culture, in practically every sense of the word.



Silver, D., Massanari, A., & Sterne, J. (Eds.). (2006). The Historiography of Cyberculture. In Critical cyberculture studies (pp. 17–28). New York: New York University Press.

One Reply to “Whose lifestream is it anyway? – Week 3 summary”

  1. This is a really super and succinct summary Helen! It sounds like you’ve drawn together some really useful conclusions for block 1.

    Good to hear that you are considering socio-material perspectives as a valuable ways of navigating the cybercultures themes. I certainly think that this kind of theoretical sensitivity can account for much more of the nuance in our relationships with technology, rather than relying on determinist positions, which feel much more like commitments that critical positions. I am reminded of one of your posts, however, that questioned ANTs normalising (perhaps colonial?) tendencies. There are definitely questions about who defines the important relations, however, that doesn’t negate its ability to surface issues of power and inequality. I’ll be interested to see if these perspectives carried forward for you into the ‘community’ theme.

    Nevertheless, inequality, privilege, and cultural influence in the context of cybercultures are potentially productive (educational) themes to consider for your final assignment, should you wish to return to some of these ideas.

Comments are closed.