CIRCA:Conference on Cultural Attitudes Towards Technology and Communication (CATaC)


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The Conference on Cultural Attitudes Towards Technology and Communication (CATaC) is held biennially and is meant "to bring together current insights from philosophy, communication theory, and cultural sciences in an interdisciplinary dialogue” (CATaC'98). Below is a list of the sessions that comprised each conference. Sessions and essays that may be of particular interest are emphasized in bold.

CATaC (1998): (Overview provided by Charles Ess.)

How far does the popular vision of ‘the electronic global village,’ while ostensibly cosmopolitan in its intention, in fact rest on culturally-limited assumptions and preferences, such as:

  • belief in communication as a sufficient condition for bringing about global understanding and democracy;
  • belief in some sort of technological determinism, so that providing the infrastructure of CMC technologies will encourage, if not inevitably lead to, the appropriation of democratic and egalitarian values; and
  • belief in a universally shared humanity, one more or less transparently communicable via CMC?

These philosophical and communication theoretical assumptions are open to question.

  • Do CMC technologies embed or encourage the appropriation of a given set of cultural values, and/or do pre-existent cultural values resist and reshape the use of such technologies?
  • What culturally-related factors, including attitudes toward gender and gender roles, encourage and/or discourage the appropriation and use of CMC technologies?

Clarifying our responses to these sorts of questions then allows us to develop a refined, more empirically-informed understanding of the prospects of realizing an electronic global village and the culturally-related conditions we must consider beyond infrastructure alone if such a global village is to emerge, including

  • a more comprehensive theoretical framework which incorporates philosophical, communication-theoretical, and cultural insights;
  • a more informed understanding of the limits of communication, especially as mediated by CMC technologies, in the face of culturally-defined constraints on communication and related practices.
  • There is a strong “interrelationship between culture, communication, and technology.”
  • Theoretical considerations include:
  • The nature of “culture”
  • The omission of religion
  • Technology as “carrier” of cultural values
  • Embodiment
  • Gender
  • How much postmodernism?
  • Limitations: no representation of China, Islamic countries, or francophone-speaking nations (besides Switzerland).
  • What is the future of the Electronic Global Village and what are the implications for the praxis of implementation are two other topics addressed by the conference, noted by Charles Ess.

CATaC (2000):

Sessions include: IT in marginalized communities, virtual environments, cyberculture, culture and information systems (in particular, “Explaining community informatics success prospects: The autonomy/harmony model” by Celia Romm and Wal Taylor), education and policy, technology and learning, and the role of media in communication.

CATaC (2002):

Sessions include: communicative attitudes and practices, gender and cultural expectations, politics of the electronic global village, community culture and cross-culture, impact of ICT’s on local and indigenous languages, religion, and cultures (in particular, “Intellectual property regimes and the possibility of indigenous sovereignty within informational economies” by Ned Rossiter), ethical and social issues related to ICT’s, culture and ICT’s (in particular, “Context and culture in human computer interaction: ‘usable’ does not mean ‘senseful’” by José Abdelnour Nocera).

CATaC (2004): (compiled into a book)

Sessions of interest include: culture: theory and praxis; issues of intercultural communication and ICT’s; cultural hybridity; the multilingual internet; diffusion, culture, community; youth and indigenous cultures; culture, communication and E-learning (“ICT and the transformation of the university” by Gunnar Guddal Michelsen)

CATaC (2006):

Sessions include: cultural diversity; technology and information transfer (“What makes a technology appropriate or appropriable” by L. Heaton and G. Nkunzimana); politics, media and technologies (“‘Intellectual Property’: Prefacing the concept in Genesis, Locke, and Marx” by B, Peters); educational design; collaborative web environments; status, meaning and mediation (“How does mediated space make sense?” by A. Kõnno); issues in indigenous and minority languages (“ICTs for intercultural dialogue: An overview of UNESCO’s Indigenous Communication Project” by L.E. Dyson et. al); mediated presence; issues in gender and identity; knowledge and culture sharing; youth and mobile technologies; ethics, justice and social change; lost in translation? (“Culture, context, and time-place effects on online interactions” by D. M. Davis).

CATaC (2008):

Sessions include: CATaC: Culture, Technology and Communication (“Analysis of CATaC: What do we know? Where do we next go?” by P.C. Rogers et. al. and “What’s love got to do with IT? On ethics and accountability in telling technology stories” by M. van der Velden); E-learning: Transculturation, Transformation and Interculturation; Play, Self and Global Retro-per-spectives; Race, Gender – and Geeks; Sex, Games and Identity; Business and e-commerce; Interfaces: Cultures and the Visual; Language Online: Searches, Blogs and Diversity; Language, News and Carnival; Issues in Academia: Culture, Technology and Philosophy (“Bridging the academic divide: Exploratory discourse on the challenges of distance and culture for academic global virtual teams” by A. Amelinckx and N. Zakaria); Online Communities: (Multi) Cultural Perspectives; Culture, Politics and the Digital Divide (“Political cultures and political communication technologies of the Western world” by M. M. Skoric, and “Bridging the global digital divide with participatory customisation” by S. Camara and R. Luckin); Indigenous Peoples and Interculturality (“Indigenous languages and shaping multilingual interfaces” by T. T. Keegan, and “Indigenous adoption of mobile phones and oral culture” by F. Brady and T. Asela); Flow, Culture and Identity (“Cultural identities in the flow: A theoretical reflection on the impact of technological globalization on intercultural communication” by C. Wilhelm); Online Communities; Gleanings; Identity, Blogs and Community; E-Learning: Culture, Pedagogy and Liberation; Interfaces: The Tangled Webs of Culture; Ethics and Privacy; and E-learning, Culture and F(L)OSS.

CATaC (2010): would not load.

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