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The International Encyclopedia of Media Studies, 7 Volume Set by Fabienne Darling-Wolf, Radhika Parameswaran, Erica Scharrer, Vicki Mayer, Sharon Mazzarella, Kelly Gates, John Nerone, Angharad N. Valdivia

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7

The Prehistoric Turn?

Networked New Media, Mobility, and the Body

Mark Coté

ABSTRACT

This chapter considers the increasingly important dimensions of location and mobility in networked new media. It examines the relationship between the human and technology by foregrounding the body. In particular, it asks how the mediated materiality of the body interfaces with the immateriality of global information flows in ubiquitous distributed media environments. Three main threads comprise this inquiry, all unfolding under the specter of the increasing precarity of labor amidst the broader temporal and spatial dimensions of the information economy under neoliberal globalization. The first two involve hallmarks of Web 2.0: the conflation of work and play, and the prominence of user-generated content. These are situated in the deeper context of convergence by tracing the conceptual shift from the passive “audience commodity” of broadcasting to the interactive immaterial labor 2.0 of distributed digital networks. The final, interdisciplinary line counterintuitively takes a “prehistoric turn” via paleoanthropology to reevaluate the ubiquitous connectivity of our contemporary condition. Fresh insights from our earliest use of stone tools suggest that the human has always had a mutually constitutive relationship with technology. It also suggests the concepts of syntax and grammar for posing new questions about the sensuousness of technology, and the processual mediated environment of the (non)local ...

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