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August 20, 2008


Ivor Crotty


I came across your work through my discovery of Xtract in Barca and my determined pursual of a partnership with them. I'm an Irish, sociologically trained, communications head for Gigafone, a Moscow based mobile marketing solutions provider who are very busy in Asia and the EU - and in this respect I wanted to comment on Bauman (& his mentor Jurgen Habermas et al). I'm writing a short speech for our VP Asia where he'll address Mobile Social Networking at ITU Asia, with a focus on Asian variants of same - and this is where it gets interesting or at least where potentially interesting answers can be generated.

Basically, Bauman and Habermas worked within the parameters of continental philosophy: children of the enlightenment, thus. What Bauman refers to as the fetishisation of the self is derived from the ideas of the frankfurt school of sociologists (Theodore Adorno, Georg Lukacs) who escaped facism but were horrified by hollywood (see the marvellously conspiratorial "Century of the Self" series for more, suffice to say its all Freud's fault!).

Habermas, in discussing the relationship between traditional societies and modernity's inevtiable colonisation of traditional space referred to modernity's ability to "hollow out the lifeworld" using legal bureaucracy (1st half of 20th century - facist and communist projects) and media technology(2nd half of 20th century).

The point is that these guys saw the relationship between tradition (which Joyce saw as a medium, by the way) and modernity, as some kind of zero sum game, where tradition loses rather than adapts, where tradition is de-purified rather than hybridised adn reinvigorated, perhaps belying their world views (they were soft-liberals, neo-marxists perhaps).

My impression is that in Asia, technology is not considered such, it does not hollow-out nor alienate; that proliferated communication technologies are regarded more opportunistically and creatively by young people who seem to lack the inhibitions one more readily associates with the anglo-saxon world. The mobile, to kids, is an opportunity for fantasy and creativity whereas in the anglo saxon world we have Disney adn the BarbieGirls "controversy".... Now, Bauman certainly had a point, and I think you've touched on a potentially rich seam of thinkers by acknowledging his contribution, but do you think my point is valid here?

I haven't read "neo-confucian cyberkids" yet, but i hope to find a body of thought that helps me work this one through. For me its rooted in cultures of learning, play, creativity, trust, social heirarchies even.

Any thoughts?

Kind regards

Ivor Crotty

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