Wednesday, February 02, 2005

(from Kevin Kiley)

Last week, we discussed the role of communication technologies in our
perceptions of geography. Tuan examines James' (1961) idea that the
decline in one's sense of place can be attributed to, among other
things, "... the loss of intimate contact with the physical setting in
an age when people seldom walk and almost never loiter ..." (p. 453).
Therefore, do modern technologies, such as the Internet, which exists
in the realm of cyberspace and thus involves an absence of physical
contact, further undermine one's sense of place or can the idea
of "place" be adapted to apply to these new technologies?

2 comments:

Mark said...

I would suggest this depends on an individual's perception of the place. Applying a sweeping framework to all web spaces is a bit unrealistic. However, if an individual invests in the "space" and "loiters", becomes familiar with the innermost workings of the "space" it is possible that the lack of physical contact could be overcome by the shear mental connection the individual forms with the space. Physical contact does not a city make as can be seen by some critiques of the social anonymity of "urban" living!

umaysay said...

I think that decline in sense of place is strongly related with decline in sense of community. Sense of community is strongly associated with quality of life since it is composed of mutual trust, membership, tolerance, interdependence, etc. Therefore, if we lose sense of place, we may lose sense of community. It eventually might affect our quality of life. I think that is why many scholars worry about the decline in sense of place. I think that all those issues are ultimately about communication: interaction with environment and interaction within enviromnent.
While such electronic media as the Internet have positive characters that lead mutual interaction, they have many negative aspects. The thing is how we can and must use those new media technologies to contribute to positive social change.