Global Currents: Media and Technology Now

Global Currents: Media and Technology Now

Global Currents: Media and Technology Now

Global Currents: Media and Technology Now


Rhetoric about media technology tends to fall into two extreme categories: unequivocal celebration or blanket condemnation. This is particularly true in debate over the clash of values when first world media infiltrate third world audiences.

Bringing together the best new work on contemporary media practices, technologies, and policies, the essayists in Global Currents argue that neither of these extreme views accurately represents the role of media technology today. New ways of thinking about film, television, music, and the internet demonstrate that it is not only media technologies that affect the cultures into which they are introduced—it is just as likely that the receiving culture will change the media.

Topics covered in the volume include copyright law and surveillance technology, cyber activism in the African Diaspora, transnational monopolies and local television industries, the marketing and consumption of “global music,” “click politics” and the war on Afghanistan, the techno-politics of distance education, artificial intelligence and global legal institutions, and traveling and “squatting” in digital space. Balanced between major theoretical positions and original field research, the selections address the political and cultural meanings that surround and configure new technologies.


Tasha G. oren and patrice petro

This volume sets out to explore the complex relationships among media, technology, and globalization. Our title, Global Currents, also serves as our conceptual framework to suggest new and contemporary ways of thinking about mobile media forms and technologies—notably film, television, music, and the Internet—within the complex dynamics of global circuits and the multivalent processes of globalization. Rather than a set of binaries or confrontations, this collection conceives of these relationships through the guiding metaphors of currents, flows, journeys, passageways, and transmissions.

The inspiration and impulse for this volume was a conference we organized at the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee’s Center for International Education in April 2002. Interdisciplinary in scope and international by design, this conference aimed to expand the dialogue about the contemporary character of technology, communication networks, and the mediated arts, in an effort to show how each has been affected by worldwide trends, now often designated by the all-encompassing shorthand term “globalization.” Participants from a wide variety of scholarly and professional fields (including film studies, cultural studies, economics, communication, anthropology, computer science, law, software design, musicology, and rhetorical studies) were invited to reflect on recent developments within their own disciplines and fields—and to engage in a cross-disciplinary dialogue about the changing roles of technology and media within new social and cultural configurations in our increasingly integrated, mobile, and globalized world.

This cross-disciplinary exchange served not only to energize the conference but also to transform the essays gathered here. For instance, nowcommonplace issues in studies of global media and technology (e.g., the . . .

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