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Cyberculture is the culture that has emerged, or is emerging, from the use of computers for communication, and entertainment, and business.
Since the boundaries of cyberculture are difficult to define, the term is used flexibly, and its application to specific circumstances can be controversial. It generally refers at least to the cultures of on-line communities, but extends to a wide range of cultural issues relating to "cyber-topics", e.g. cybernetics, computerization, the digital revolution, and the perceived or predicted cyborgization of the human body. It can also embrace associated artistic and cultural movements, such as cyberpunk and transhumanism. The term always incorporates at least an implicit anticipation of the future.
Basically, it can be said that cyberculture encompasses the human-machine social and cultural levels involved in what is popularly known as cyberspace (a neologism invented by the cyberpunk author William Gibson). It is a wide social and cultural movement closely linked to advanced information and communication technologies (ICTs), their emergence and development and their rise to cultural prominence between the 1960s and the 1990s.
Numerous specific concepts of cyberculture have been formulated by such authors as Lev Manovich, Pierre Lévy, Margaret Morse, and Arturo Escobar. However, most of these concepts concentrate only on certain aspects, and they do not cover these in great detail.
Some authors aiming to achieve a more comprehensive understanding distinguish between early and contemporary cyberculture (Jakub Macek), or between cyberculture as the cultural context of ICTs and cyberculture (more specifically cyberculture studies) as "a particular approach to the study of the 'culture + technology' complex" (David Lister et al.).
Early cyberculture (from the beginning of the 1960s to the first half of the 1990s) developed outside the cultural and social mainstream (or in a kind of dialectical relationship with it). This early cyberculture produced its own representations of an emerging world of advanced information and communication technologies. Contemporary cyberculture can be understood, on one hand, as a set of cultural practices enabling us to deal with new forms of information, and, on the other hand, as a set of NGOs, civic activities and subcultural social groups forming a discursive opposition to the governmental and commercial interests in ICTs.
The field of cyberculture studies examines the topics explained above, including the communities emerging within the networked spaces sustained by the use of modern technology. Students of cyberculture engage with political, philosophical, and psychological issues that arise from the networked interactions of human beings by humans who act in various relations to ICTs. The field is being developed in numerous educational institutions, with the European Graduate School being one of the most prominent and dedicated, since its faculty contains many staff who have worked on closely related fields of thought.
Donna Haraway, Manuel De Landa, Bruce Sterling, Hendrik Speck, Kevin Kelly, Wolfgang Schirmacher, Victor J.Vitanza, Gregory Ulmer, and Jean Baudrillard are among the key theorists and critics who have produced relevant work that speaks to, or has influenced studies in, cyberculture.
- Defining Cyberculture by Jakub Macek
- Resource Centre for Cyberculture Studies
- Voices in My Head - MindVox: The Overture by Patrick Kroupa
- A place where Cyberculture is a topic of research and thought
- Cybercultura.it a site of resources dedicated to the analysis of the Net from anthropological and sociological perspective
- Cyber culture by the Cyberpunk project
- Roger Clarke's 'Encouraging Cyberculture'
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