From Global Village to Identity Tribes: Context Collapse and the Darkest Timeline

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Title: From Global Village to Identity Tribes: Context Collapse and the Darkest Timeline
Authors: Bastos, Marco
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Date: 23-Jul-2021
Online since: 2021-10-18T12:41:15Z
Abstract: In this article we trace the development of two narratives describing social media that informed much of internet scholarship. One draws from McLuhan’s axiom positing that communication networks would bring forth a ‘global village,’ a deliberate contradiction in terms to foreground the seamless integration of villages into a global community. Social media would shrink the world and reshape it into a village by moving information instantaneously from any location at any time. By leveraging network technology, it would further increase the density of connections within and across social communities, thereby integrating geographic and cultural areas into a village stretching across the globe. The second narrative comprises a set of metaphors equally inspired by geography but emphasizing instead identity and tribalism as opposed to integration and cooperation. Both narratives are spatially inspired and foreground real-world consequences, either by supporting cooperation or by ripping apart the fabric of society. They nonetheless offer opposing accounts of communication networks: the first is centered on communication and collaboration, and the second highlights polarization and division. The article traces the theoretical and technological developments driving these competing narratives and argues that a digitally enabled global village society may in fact reinforce intergroup boundaries and outgroup stereotyping typical of geographically situated communities.
Funding Details: University College Dublin
Funding Details: Twitter, Inc.
Type of material: Journal Article
Publisher: Cogitatio
Journal: Media and Communication
Volume: 9
Issue: 3
Start page: 50
End page: 58
Copyright (published version): 2021 the Authors
Keywords: Context collapseDisinformationGeographyGlobal villageInternet studiesPolarization
DOI: 10.17645/mac.v9i3.3930
Language: en
Status of Item: Peer reviewed
This item is made available under a Creative Commons License:
Appears in Collections:Information and Communication Studies Research Collection

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