Outline of our team project

I. The theme

The sociological effects of technology taken in a large sense (we need to give a definition) on public spaces (we need a definition as well).

II. Our point of view

This is the theoretical lens with which we will analyze our subject. We do not purport it is the truth; it is just a theoretical point of view. Since the beginning of civilization, humanity has evolved from natural settings to artificial ones (by which we mean tangible settings human-built) to virtual settings (by which we mean intangible settings human-built). These settings have not replaced each other. Rather, they have supplemented each other. However, in the process, their relative importance (or centrality to humanity) has evolved. The last stage of this evolution, the advent of virtual settings is just at its beginnings. However, we predict that it will become ever more important as communication technologies develop.

Natural -------- Artificial --------- Virtual

III. Our analytical aim

We wish to test our theory by finding articles, books (academic or not), movies, adds, in a word, any document that support or oppose our point of view. Our hope, of course, is to find sufficient evidence to support our view and to write a brief history of the world as seen from this point of view (e.g. the migration from the hunter-gatherers society to the sedentary-agrarian society, to the industrial-city-based society…). In this first phase, we will emphasize the importance of technology (e.g. agriculture, car, TV, VCR, Internet, …) in the shaping of public spaces. In a second phase, if we have found good support for our point of view, we will extrapolate it into the future to predict how the growing importance of virtual settings will affect public spaces in the future. In the next stage, we will evaluate the good, the bad and the ugly we see in these evolutions. Finally, we will propose certain steps that could be taken to prevent the bad and the ugly from happening and those that will enhance the good.

IV. Bibliography

We need to start stating the other theories and academic works and perspectives that we will use.

Some of them are:

- Technological determinism

- Critical theory (feminism, neo-Marxism, post-modernism, …)

- Actor-network theory (Michel Calon, …)

- Hegel’s history of art

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