International Institute for Culture

Communitas in Absentia: Internet Technology and the 21st Century Culture
Thursday, July 3, 2003

The Question this paper seeks to investigate is whether information technologies of the 21st century can serve as a sufficient vehicle to develop communitas as understood by Christian culture. This question is important in light of the globalization of information, the ubiquity of communication, and the invasive nature of information technologies' role in 21st C. culture. A fundamental assertion of the paper will be that within the emerging 21st C. culture, technology as characterized by Christopher Dawson will be global in reach and pervasive in influence through a global information infrastructure. It asks the Church to develop a theology of engagement in the face of a global culture of virtual community. 
The talk investigates information technology as instantiated through the internet as a platform for global communication, information management, and as a homogenizing element in the development of an emerging global techno-culture. Today through technological capability; language differences, geographical limitations, and even cultural separation, can be virtually eliminated. Individuals can dialogue online, instantaneously message, and share cognitive activity via internet technology governed by norms and values every bit as real as socially derived cultures. These technologically mediated communities are what are known as 'virtual' in that 'they look like you have them but you really don't'. They are, however, institutional in that they are the foundation for regular methods of interacting and behaving.

Mr. Cyrus Olsen III
Information coming soon.
  Communitas, 2003 Eichstatt

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