computer mediated communication

Mon, 25 Apr 1994 19:54:42 -0300

The message below from Fred Skanes was uuencoded but was worth
decoding -- it raises important issues. I'll address only one,
how CMC affects "the existing power structure of institutional

I am a professor in a small and joint department and what CMC
does is to undermine my authority in a very welcome way. My
colleagues and I can no longer represent "Anthropology" for our
students. Yes, we have always expected our students to read
widely and to appreciate that the particular individuals they are
working with are engaged in only a portion of the rather
incredible range of activities we loosely label "anthropology."
But we as individuals become just that -- individuals rather than
Authorities -- when students are exposed to the Net and its Lists
and occasionally rather vivid personalities, with on-line access
to libraries far vaster than our own and to the calendars of
departments far larger. The Net provides a context in which
students may find their own professors no longer loom so large
but instead appear as members of a varied community.

Jerry Barkow

>The recent development of computer mediated communication (CMC)
>as a nascent cultural tool in anthropology has many
>Often discussions of the usage of CMC have been engaged by
>numerous professors of anthropology and other related
>I would like to take a moment to ask those students out there
>using CMC what exactly the benefits and drawbacks of CMC have
>been thus far?
>I am interested in all responses but would like to address a few
>key questions. First, how does CMC effect the existing power
>structure of institutional anthropology? I would like to hear
>from students who can validate the query that the use of CMC
>means change in the ways in which they relate to departments and
>Will the development of E-journals, listservers like anthro-l,
>discussion groups, news groups, hypertext, etc.., change the
>in which students relate to the traditional avenues of
>anthropological discourse?
>What about online identity? What will CMC do for gender in
>anthropology as far as students go?
>Does CMC afford students an avenue for the discussion of ideas
>outside of departmental interests?
>Can CMC be used as another way to prepare students for research
>and teaching?
>What say will/do students have in the usage of CMC in the
>How much time do you use on CMC for anthropological purposes?
>When do you use it and why?
>I know most of this seems a bit redundant but if you could take
>the time to respond I would be ever grateful. You can e-mail to
>anthro-l but I would like your response mailed to me if possible
>due to the fact it would be easier for me to hold onto it.