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New Media and Old Pragmatists: Meadian Sociality in the Infosphere

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In this paper I demonstrate the usefulness of classical pragmatists to understanding contemporary information and communication technologies (ICTs). To make this case, I explore how George Herbert Mead’s writings on sociality illuminate communication via ICTs. Mead’s core insight is to approach society as an objective action nexus rather than emphasizing the subject experiences of individuals. This insight recasts ICT communication as inherently social acts involving social objects. By framing this sort of engagements in this way, the criticism that ICTs lead to a weightless, unreal world becomes problematic. My Meadian analysis proposes that while this sort of communication involves different possibilities because of the role of social control, it is still an extension out of other modes of social action.


Andrew Garnar    
Clemson University
United States


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