Posts Tagged 'internet'

A question about network theory and nu-social networks

I’m currently reading a biography of the California artist Robert Irwin, best known for his conceptual and environmental art. I’ll try to post a recap when I’m done. Early in his career he spent a lot of time in LA artist collective Ferus, whose members continually groused and obsessed over their peers in the New York art world.

This reminisce reminds me of my limited experience with network theory, the body of work contending that social networks create the only truly successful period. Network theory’s mainstream spokesman is probably Richard Florida, but I’m better acquainted with Randall Collins’s mammoth The Sociology of Philosophies, which argues that there are no great lone thinkers, no posthumous geniuses. Our body of intellectual achievement comes out of coteries and salons: think Bloomsbury, think Left Bank, think Vienna Circle.* Brilliant loners usually belonged to social networks whose members history has largely forgotten.

I’m entering a weird period in my life in which just about all of my friendships are maintained online. I often use in-person social networks as a spur to my intellect, and worry about what happens to my mental acuity in a vacuum. Do online social networks provide the same benefit that Collins’s examples did? Will the next artists’ group arise on Google Wave? What do you think?

*I should probably mention that Collins girds his argument with many case studies from Asian social networks as well–his thesis is not restricted to the West or to modernity.


Tweetdex

Error: Twitter did not respond. Please wait a few minutes and refresh this page.

Categories

Pages

June 2017
M T W T F S S
« Jan    
 1234
567891011
12131415161718
19202122232425
2627282930