Network Culture and Periodization, or, What Era Do We Live In?

I'm putting the finishing touches on the Networked Publics book, including a conclusion reflecting on the phenomenon of network culture that I've outlined here. When that's done, I'll be uploading it as well as the entire book, for comments. 2007 is a year for a number of books and certainly for me to discuss what network culture is in depth on this blog.

For now then, here's a rumination on periodization and network culture. The reviews of an earlier draft of the conclusion generally suggested that the section on periodization needed to be reworked. For now, I've excised it and edited it to stand on its own and am planning to reference this page instead. In a future version of the essay, perhaps it can make its way back in again. I suppose it does say something quite definite about our era that the readers reacted so instinctively against my discussion of periodization.

Yes, history is my discipline and therefore I have a certain bias towards such explanations, but the question of periodization was central to Jameson's essay on postmodernism. Why was it not a problem then when it is now? My hunch is that we're afraid of periodization precisely because it's so absent right now. As I say in the excised excerpt from that essay,

Although modernism and postmodernism relentlessly defined themselves, we just are. Even this decade remains nameless””?is it the 2000s? the ‘00s? Or as the BBC suggested, the “noughties”?

Our collective fear of periodization says a lot about us, and why we are not postmodern. Read on for more and please comment! The captcha system I've put in place is annoying but it takes care of all the spam that was crippling comments for so long.

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