Digital Reason

A Guide to Meaning, Medium and Community in a Modern World

Jan Baetens, Ortwin de Graef, and Silvana Mandolessi

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Textbook - paperback

· Introductory and user-friendly textbook for scholars and students in the humanities
· Multidisciplinary approach to digital culture
· Cross-fertilization of three major perspectives: history of ideas, art, identity and memory studies
· Includes a wide selection of examples and case studies with many suggestions for advanced study and reading

The digital revolution has changed our ways of thinking, working, writing, and living together. In this book the authors critically analyse the ways in which these new technologies have reshaped our world in numerous respects, ranging from politics, ideology, and philosophy over art and communication to memory and identity. The book challenges the customary view of a divide between analogue and digital culture, claiming instead that human endeavour has always been characterised by certain forms and aspects of digital thinking, building, and communicating, and that essential parts of analog culture are still being reshaped by new digital technologies. It offers a multidisciplinary approach to digital reason, reflecting the diversity of humanities scholarship and its fundamental contribution to the ongoing changes in our current and future thinking and doing.

Introduction: We Have Always Been Digital

Part One Mass Meaning
Starry Sky and Moral Law 
The Purpose of Historically Modern Humans 
Enlightenment and the Public Sphere 
The Science of Nature and the Science of Humankind 
Self-interest and Sympathy 
The Spectacle of Progress and the Machinery of Education 

Evolution and Culture
The “Middle Classes” and “the Masses Below Them”
Science and Culture 
Bildung and Propaganda 
“A Race Between Education and Catastrophe” 
Genes, Memes, Imaging and Imagination 
Big Words 

Part Two Medium
Media Cultures 
Medium Theory vs Media Theory 
Marshall McLuhan (1911–1980) 
Stanley Cavell (1926–2018) 
Remediation, Intermediality, Transmediality and the Others 
The Digital Turn 
Medium Archaeology 1

Electronic Literature, Internet Art 
Digital Writing before Electronic Writing 
Digital-Borne versus Digital-Born 
The Digital as Cultural Form 
Digital Culture and “Performation” 

The Relocation of Digital Writing 
Expanding and Relocation 
New = Neo? 
New Media Writing: Return to Medium-Specificity 
Back to Print: Still Making Books Thanks to the Digital Turn 

The Problem of Canonisation in the Digital Era 
No Place for Canons in Digital Times? 
The Archival Impulse 
Saving the Canon 
Relocating the Digital Void 

Part Three Community
Digital Politics 
Digital Mobilisation 
From Ideology to Issue-based Participatory Politics 
The Logic of Connective Action 
Digital Activism and Social Movements 

Digital Democracy 
Digital Media and/as the Public Sphere 
A Private Sphere
Twitter and Democracy 

Digital Self 
The Relational Self and the “Networked Community” 
Modes of Self-presentation in Digital Media 
The Self as Text 
The Selfie 

The Digital Person, the Panopticon and Kafka 
Orwell and Kafka 

Works Cited 

Subject Index 
Index of Names 

Format: Textbook - paperback

Size: 230 × 170 × 16 mm

280 pages

ISBN: 9789462702066

Publication: January 06, 2020

Languages: English

Stock item number: 132672

Jan Baetens is professor of Literature and Cultural Studies at KU Leuven.
Ortwin de Graef is professor of Literature and Cultural Studies at KU Leuven.
Silvana Mandolessi is professor of Literature and Cultural Studies at KU Leuven.
Engaging, profound and lucid, Digital Reason is recommended for students of the digital but also curious scholars and laypersons.
Maaheen Ahmed, IMAGE [&] NARRATIVE, Vol. 22, No.1 (2021)