[iDC] Introduction

Fred Turner fturner at stanford.edu
Fri Jun 12 17:36:05 UTC 2009

Hi All,

	What a neat mix -- delighted to be a part of it.

	Trebor and I have talked for a long time now about the links between  
American countercultural ideals and the contemporary blurring of work,  
play, sociability and exploitation. In my last book, From  
Counterculture to Cyberculture, I tried to get at some of the cultural  
roots of these new fusions. What stood out most to me in the 1960s was  
the deep critique of bureaucracy: in the two decades after World War  
II Americans of all sorts of political persuasions feared that working  
in large, rule-governed organizations would fracture the individual  
psyche. To become a psychologically whole person, one had to find ways  
to break down the walls of the organization, link minds and bodies  
with the like-minded, and make the work of living the work one did  
*for* one's living. In the 1960s, these ideas dominated the thinking  
of those whom I've called the New Communalists -- a generation of  
mostly young, college-educated or college-bound folks who formed the  
largest wave of communal activity in American history. Today of  
course, these ideas underpin all kinds of new modes of digitally  
enabled production and sociability. And they do so very concretely.  
Here in Silicon Valley for instance, the Burning Man festival, held  
annually in the Black Rock desert of Nevada, encodes many of those  
values and at the same time, provides a ritual structure with which to  
celebrate dominant modes of engineering practice at firms like Google  
(for a paper on this theme go to http://fredturner.stanford.edu).

	So: my own interests run to the fusion of countercultural idealism,  
new media technologies, and the diffusion of labor into everyday life.

	I look forward to reading and hearing more.

-- Fred


Fred Turner
Assistant Professor
Dept. of Communication
Building 120
Stanford University
Stanford, CA 94305-2050

Office: 650-723-0706
Fax: 650-725-2472
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