Critical Approaches to Culture + Communications

A Weblog by Ron Burnett (Founded in 1994 and now celebrating 23 Years!!)

This site began as one of the first academic sites in Canada when the World Wide Web was in its early phase of development. I have maintained it through many iterations since 1994.

Reader responses

There have been a number of responses to my recents posts and here are some samples:


I found it very interesting - There was an interview
with the actress Rene Zellweger in today's
paper and something she said caught my attention. When
asked about privacy, fame and harassment - she said
that while walking down the street people with
cellphones will photograph her - without asking her
permission - but, worst of all - without saying
hello!!This relatively new technology exists but maybe
at the expense of manners, freedom, privacy, etc. This
could be the downside. It really has nothing to do
with teaching and recognizing the new media - but it's
an interesting issue touching on a paparazzi-like
behaviour - whereby BEFORE this technology existed
people would have stopped and maybe said hello (or
asked for an autograph - how old-fashioned).

The use today of people in far-away places where
labour is cheap, or the technology exists - is
something relatively new and fascinating. I know that
when you call Montreal INFORMATION the person
answering you is no longer sitting in Montreal but in
INDIA.. Where once material and goods
were outsourced - new technologies have now created a
situation whereby customer service, telemarketing,and
information services are outsourced. The changes may
look subtle but they shift the power of the work force
from place to place and create jobs for people in
less-developped or poorer countries (and deprive jobs
for those in the wealthier countries - such as

All this has nothing to do with teaching new media and
persuading higher learning institutions to extend
their budgets for it - but it helps to prove how much
there is to learn and what potentials are out there
for people with good ideas who want to turn them into
money-making ventures. We need to understand New Media from this perspective as well.


Actually, every time I saw the phrase 'New Media' so far I have always had
a tendency to immediately challenge the author. So far there has never been
anyone who could successfully convince me that there was anything
specifically newer - i.e. newer in a different sense - in the New Media now
than in the New Media of the past.

Your current contribution to thinking about this issue is the first one
that forces me to recognize that, even though the media themselves (i.e.
the technological tools) are as such not dramatically different, the
complex environment of which both humans and the media are part has perhaps
started to take on different properties. Neither the media nor the humans
may any longer be what they used to be before that happened.


Can the study of "boundaries" between disciplines become a field in itself, is this theory, or critical theory? How does theory (from arts and humanities) create tangible connections with the sciences?
Curatorial disciplines can play an important role in helping us redefine the boundaries.