Technology, schools and the decentralization of culture

Brian Carolan

Abstract


Most analyses of culture and technology have been fascinated, even transfixed, by all the wonderful things that can be created and shared using digital tools. Rarely have these cultural analyses explored the issue of how such technological tools are going to impact how individuals interact and organize around cultural content that is fluid and contested. This is particularly problematic for schools as technological tools allow students to reject, share and contest the fixed content that has historically been disseminated through a narrow range of books and pedagogical strategies. This paper seeks to develop a theoretical model of culture that can account for change in what was, and still is, considered by many social scientists to be impermeable structural boundaries. By conceptualizing technology as a symbolic tool, it is hoped that the model of culture developed in this paper can begin to explain how social relations in institutions such as schools can change in a manner that will upset existing hierarchical social relations.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5210/fm.v6i8.879



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