Dissertation thoughts

And now for something more personal.

I just completed my Ph.D. in Journalism at the University of Texas at Austin. I defended my dissertation on April 29, 2004 and turned in all of my paperwork on May 3.

My topic was a historical look at how advancements in technology have affected society's need for control on privacy. I wound up with an interesting relaization: far from the assertion of technology destroying privacy (as so many current books and articles conclude), the advancement of technology actually CREATES the norms and controls we call "privacy."

Privacy is not something we sit around thinking about. It's a concept we usually invoke (or create, as I'm arguing) in response to some threatened change in the social order. In other words, privacy is created as a form of social resistance to unwanted technological changes.

Because privacy is created in response to changing circumstances and conditions, I realized that how privacy is expressed says a great deal about the people and times in which the claims to privacy are generated. People create privacy in order to claim that technology is destroying it. As such, privacy reflects less about the universality of man and more about specific moments in history and culture.

More on this later.


Anonymous said...

Congrats on becoming Dr. Rick ^_^

Human history does indeed have a long and sordid past when it comes to things they don't like.

I look at so many of our laws, taboos, and "norms" that permeate our society and think to myself, "What on earth were they smoking when they thought this one up, and why didn't anyone say anything against it?" The wheels of propaganda and misinformation create what we refer to as reality.

-Jacob Pitakpaivan

btw if you get insatiably bored www.xanga.com/atx115