Nexus Analysis: Discourse and the Emerging Internet

Nexus Analysis: Discourse and the Emerging Internet

Nexus Analysis: Discourse and the Emerging Internet

Nexus Analysis: Discourse and the Emerging Internet

Synopsis

Nexus Analysis introduces a new and exciting theory by two of the leading names in discourse analysis and provides a practical field-guide to its application.People, places, discourses and objects form the key elements of social action. 'Nexus analysis' allows participants to explore these elements and trace their historical trajectories towards actions, in order to anticipate the outcomes of these actions.Using as a study their own experience of pioneering computer-mediated communication in Alaska in the late 70s and early 80s, the authors conduct a nexus analysis of the events and discourses of the time. As the birth of email and audio / video conferencing technologies expanded the possibilities for education and social interaction, the authors played an active role in shaping its use and analyzing its effect. Looking back on this time now and on the huge impact that these technologies have had on our world as we know it today, they assess moments of social importance in order to examine the linkages among social practices, Alaskan peoples, and technologies. During this they also consider the media of communication as not only a means of expressing change but also as a catalyst for change itself, transforming the socio-cultural landscape.In this intellectually exciting yet accessible book, Ron Scollon and Suzie Wong Scollon provide the reader with not only a working example of a new theory in action, but also a personal and engaging snapshot of a key moment in the history of communication technology, as Internet technology transformed Alaskan life.

Excerpt

On a dark December day in 1980 when the temperature was nearly 40 degrees below zero and the valley in which Fairbanks, Alaska, lies was filled with choking ice fog that glittered brilliantly in the campus lights, Suzie Scollon proposed an idea to Ron Scollon that radically changed our lives. Five years before the invention of the Internet she proposed that we use the internal electronic mail system of the University of Alaska Computer Network (UACN) to teach university classes, to communicate among faculty, and to communicate between faculty and students who lived across the 1280-mile span of Alaska where there were uacn facilities - from Kotzebue on the Arctic Coast to Ketchikan in the Tongass rain forest of southeast Alaska, a distance about the same as the distance from Dublin to Budapest.

At the Center for Cross-Cultural Studies in the School of Education of the University of Alaska in Fairbanks Suzie was teaching students in remote villages of Alaska in the Cross-cultural Educational Development program. This partial distance education program used a complex system of plane travel for teachers and students, mailed correspondence, and the very new university audio conferencing network. Ron was teaching graduate students in education on campus in Fairbanks. Suzie had learned of the university's existing electronic mail system (UACN) which was present through network terminals in most offices of the university. This system was built on the arpanet structure and was among the very first non-military email networks. Suzie's proposal was that we should first learn how to use this forbidding system to talk among colleagues who were spread throughout a state that was an expanse of mountains, rivers, glaciers, and forest and of vast tundra plains. Then if we could do that we should try it with students.

A month later in January 1981 we began to use email conferencing to teach the graduate education course 'Language, Literacy, and Learning'. We believe that this was the first time this medium was used in the us in credit-bearing university instruction. This was a face-to-face course taught on campus which we

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